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Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2010 Sep-Oct;76(5):494-503. doi: 10.4103/0378-6323.69060.

Cutaneous tuberculosis in children: the Indian perspective.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology and STD, University College of Medical Sciences & GTB Hospital (University of Delhi), Dilshad Garden, Delhi, India.


Cutaneous tuberculosis continues to be a significant medical problem even with the advent of highly effective antituberculous drugs. It constitutes about 1.5% of all extra pulmonary tuberculosis. The prevalence in children varies from 18 to 54% in India. There is no gender predilection and the infection occurs with increased frequency in 10-14 year age group. Intrafamilial source of TB has been observed very frequently. A concomitant TB lymphadenitis is most common while involvement of other systemic organs like lung, bone and abdomen has also been observed. Protective efficacy of BCG is debatable and not yet fully defined. Of all the clinical types, scrofuloderma (SFD) is the most commonly encountered variant followed by lupus vulgaris (LV) and tuberculosis verrucosa cutis (TBVC). Lichen scrofulosorum (LS) is generally found to be associated with systemic TB focus in about 72% of cases. The impact of HIV on childhood cutaneous TB seems to be minimal. Similar to adults, the diagnosis of cutaneous tuberculosis relies mainly on histopathology, culture on LJ medium or radiometric BACTEC 460 TB culture system and PCR. In addition Mantoux positivity and a positive therapeutic trial with anti-tubercular drugs may be a good pointer to tubercular infection. A thorough clinical evaluation and exhaustive investigations to pin-point associated systemic focus is advocated as the latter has an impact on the duration of treatment. Cutaneous TB in children is treated as per the recommendations of therapy for extrapulmonary TB.

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