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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1998 May;17(5):407-11.

Tuberculosis in children and adolescents: California, 1985 to 1995.

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University of California, Department of Pediatrics, San Francisco, USA.



To describe the epidemiology and clinical characteristics of tuberculosis (TB) among children and adolescents and to define children at risk for TB.


4607 children 0 to 14 years of age and 1615 adolescents 15 to 19 years of age reported with TB in California.


We analyzed surveillance data reported to the California Department of Health Services TB Control Branch from 1985 through 1995.


TB cases increased 22% among children 0 to 4 years of age and 66% among children 5 to 14 from 1985 through 1995. Case rates were highest among children 0 to 4 years of age (13/ 100000 children), but declined from 1993 to 1995, except for black children 0 to 4 years of age. Minority children 0 to 14 years of age had case rates 6- to 34-fold higher than did white children. Pulmonary TB was the most common site of disease in all age groups (71 to 82%). TB meningitis was most common in children 0 to 4 years of age (5%). Most children (64%) did not have cultures done; however, among culture-proved cases isoniazid-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis was isolated in 7%. Adolescents were more likely to have cavitary pulmonary disease (24%), to be foreign-born (78%) or homeless (4%) and to have an isoniazid-resistant strain isolated (13%) than were children 0 to 14 years of age (P < 0.05).


TB in children and adolescents increased substantially in the mid-1980s and early 1990s. Pediatric TB remains a serious health problem, especially among minority children and adolescents. Our findings indicate that TB control programs need improved strategies to prevent infection and detect disease in this population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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