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Isr Med Assoc J. 2006 Jan;8(1):21-6.

Epidemiologic characteristics of pediatric active tuberculosis among immigrants from high to low tuberculosis-endemic countries: the Israeli experience.

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Department of Tuberculosis and AIDS, Ministry of Health, Jerusalem, Israel.



During the last decade, Israel, a country with low tuberculosis rates, absorbed some 900,000 new immigrants from TB-endemic countries.


To analyze the specific impact of our screening procedures on active TB among children in Israel.


We conducted a retrospective analysis of epidemiologic and clinical data of all children (aged 0-17) with TB notified to the Ministry of Health between 1990 and 1999.


There were 479 children with TB (male/female ratio 1.36). Most cases (81.8%) were foreign born, predominantly (88.2%) immigrants from Ethiopia and, therefore, huge differences existed in TB incidence rates according to countries of origin. Some 80% were diagnosed within 3 years of arrival, mainly due to active case-finding. Pulmonary TB, with infiltrates on chest X-ray, was found in 49.5%. Extra-pulmonary TB sites were: intra-thoracic lymphadenitis (31.1%), extra-thoracic lymphadenitis (12.5%), bones (3.6%), pleura (1.3%), meninges (1%), and others (1%). Seventy percent had a tuberculin skin test reaction > or =10 mm in size. Two (non-immigrant) children died of TB meningitis.


Most of the pediatric TB cases occurred in recent immigrants and were diagnosed within 3 years of immigration. These data support our policy of active case-finding among new immigrants from Ethiopia and extensive contact evaluation for all TB cases.

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