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February 22, 2021

Diagnosing Childhood Tuberculosis: A Small Step Forward

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
JAMA Pediatr. 2021;175(5):e206078. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.6078

Prior to 2012, there were no reliable estimates of the incidence of tuberculosis in the world’s children. Using the only available information, in 2013, the World Health Organization estimated there were approximately 500 000 annual cases and 89 000 deaths among children not living with HIV; there were no data to even estimate the mortality among children living with HIV.1 Throughout the next several years, modeling studies suggested that the rates of cases and mortality were much higher.2 Using these techniques, in 2019, the World Health Organization estimated there were 1.2 million annual cases and 230 000 annual deaths from tuberculosis in children younger than 15 years.3 One study estimated that 96% of the children who died never received treatment, mostly because they were never diagnosed.4

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