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Indian Pediatr. 2014 Jul;51(7):523-7.

Tuberculosis control in India: why are we failing?

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Retired Professor and Head, Department of Clinical Virology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, TN, India. Correspondence to: Dr T Jacob John, 439, Civil Supplies Godown Lane, Kamalakshipuram, Vellore, TN, 632002, India.


In spite of being the pioneer-leader of research into epidemiology and prevention of tuberculosis among low-income countries, India has the highest population-based burden of tuberculosis among all nations. Children with latent tuberculosis are the pool from which adult pulmonary tuberculosis emerges many years later. In the absence of primary prevention of infection by BCG, sociologic/behavioral interventions must be applied to reduce air-borne transmission. In addition to maximizing passive surveillance of adult disease, pediatric tuberculosis must also be brought under surveillance. Those with latent tuberculosis must be detected and treated to remove them from the pool. Epidemiologically, the realistic monitoring method of tuberculosis control trajectory is documenting progressive reduction of the short incubation period pediatric disease through surveillance, and not the reduction of long incubation period adult pulmonary tuberculosis. Application of scientific tools for the detection and management of pediatric tuberculosis infection - latent and active - holds the key to effective tuberculosis control.

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