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Paediatr Child Health. 2003 Mar;8(3):162-70.

A clinical approach to paediatric tuberculosis in Canada.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, The Hospital for Sick Children, University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario.



To review clinical aspects of management of tuberculosis (TB) infection and disease in Canadian children in the context of the global TB epidemic and the rising incidence of drug-resistant TB.


ORIGINAL AND REVIEW ARTICLES PERTINENT TO: epidemiology of TB globally and in Canada; management of latent TB infection and TB disease in children; diagnostic tests for latent TB infection and TB disease; and management of drug-resistant TB disease. Multiple Medline searches were used including combinations of the MeSH terms 'Tuberculosis*' (and its multiple subheadings), 'Child*', 'Drug Resistance', 'Mycobacterium tuberculosis*' and 'Canada/epidemiology*'. Select relevant textbooks were reviewed.


The articles were analyzed from the perspective of clinicians managing children in Canada today, and from our experience of managing children with TB in Southern Ontario.


TB in Canada is largely a disease of the foreign-born and their children, but continues to occur in aboriginal children. Drug resistance is increasing globally and in Canada. Most children with TB disease in Canada are asymptomatic and found through contact tracing. False positive skin tests are frequent where TB prevalence is low.


Obtain source case drug sensitivities when treating TB contacts and those with latent TB infection. Obtain cultures before treating TB disease and treat disease with at least four antituberculous drugs while awaiting sensitivities. Use Directly Observed Therapy for TB disease. Confine TB skin testing to children at high risk for TB infection or disease, including contacts of infectious patients and recent immigrants. A team approach and infection control measures including environmental controls are important in managing TB disease.


Canada; Drug resistance; Management; Tuberculosis

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