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Updated: March 26, 2012 10:36 IST

Watch out for TB in children

Afshan Yasmeen
Comment (6)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

With the World Health Organisation (WHO) identifying childhood tuberculosis (TB) as a hidden epidemic, TB specialists and paediatric pulmonologists in the city say the disease can be checked by taking some precautions.

According to WHO, TB often goes undiagnosed in children from birth to 15 years, either because they lack access to health services or because health workers are unprepared to recognise the symptoms of TB in this age group. And with World TB Day observed on Saturday, doctors say the slogan for 2012, ‘Stop TB in my lifetime', should be taken seriously.


Caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the disease spreads from person to person through saliva, or when a person with the infection coughs or sneezes.

Shashidhar Buggi, director of SDS TB and Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, says awareness about the disease is poor among families who are vulnerable.

“It is most important to get children in the house diagnosed when an adult is diagnosed with TB. Any child living with a TB patient and who has an unexplained fever should be evaluated,” he explains.

Difficult to diagnose

According to Dr. Buggi, TB is difficult to diagnose in children and is often mistaken for pneumonia.

H. Paramesh, paediatric pulmonologist and director of Lakeside Hospital, says parents should not ignore persistent cough or cold that lasts for more than two weeks. “Unexplained low-grade fever that lasts for more than a week and loss of appetite and weight in the child are strong indications of childhood TB,” he says.

Unlike in adults where a sputum test would help in diagnosing the disease, a TB skin test and chest X-ray are important in detecting the disease in children, he adds.

At risk

Sumant Mantri, consultant pulmonologist in Apollo Hospital says children have an increased risk of getting infected with TB when they come in contact with parents or elders with active TB at home or at school.

“Parents and other residents of the house who smoke must quit tobacco use as second-hand tobacco smoke puts their children at risk of TB,” he says.

Proper cross-ventilation at home and school, respiratory etiquette, keeping the curtains and upholstery clean, and making washing hands a must both before and after meals are some preventive measures that must be followed, he adds.

TB is really hidden epidemic but why not this epidemic is
being controlled by Indian Government. The reasons behind are
numerous, lack of nutritious food, lack of proper health
care,infections,lack of forthcoming of government pulmonary doctor,
corruption in hospital medicine.Most doctor are delivering and analyzing the reasons of spreading this epidemic disease but when they
are at high post in hospital their talent are used in how to burgle
the government medicine and patient food. Since all plan are
superficial and farcical that's why this disease has became really
like epidemic.

from:  Dr. Khaliquzzaman
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 18:11 IST

Please treat this disease seriously. I agree with its difficult diagnosis, My experience says go to a TB specialist doctor for its treatment and eat the medicines religiously accompanied by a good diet. I do not understand why in India is TB especially MDR TB is effecting so many people, that too people from good families. I also think that there should be a strict banned on selling of antibiatics over the counter and should be sold only a valid prescription. Can anything be done for this to take an effect as a law. This will make sure that our bodies are exposed to much of the antibiotics from the beginning, reducing it resistance and the doctors too can give a similar line of treatment to avoid giving heavy antibiotics for minor diseases. The future of our country is at a greater risk from this disease. I think the medical society in our country need more reforms and the civil society should adhere to them and be aware. TB is a biggest killer in India.

from:  Mahendra
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 02:12 IST

Thanx for the article about TB..I request all readers to follow the expertise instructions and inform your near and dear.Insist your kids
and advise them to follow an healthy life style.

from:  Vitsandra Ravi Ramarao
Posted on: Mar 27, 2012 at 11:43 IST

While there is no doubt that TB has to considered in several contexts ,it is also important that diagnosis be done using specific criteria. Many times it is just a series of non-specific criteria and TB treatment is initiated when the problem may not be TB at all.

from:  Dr SUma Balan
Posted on: Mar 27, 2012 at 09:53 IST

How can you use a picture like the one you have displayed for this article?
A faceless and covered photo of a woman wearing a complete burkha with her child. Please reflect the true picture of India.

from:  Vipul Dave
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 21:21 IST

The picture associated with this article is in poor taste. To associate TB with veil had no scientific evidence even in seventies when this problem was being discussed and when Muslim society was far more backward than it is today. To repeat this gimmick now looks more like a campaign against veil than eradication of TB.

from:  Dr Basheer A Khan
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 20:18 IST
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