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Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 1998 Oct;2(10):797-803.

Childhood tuberculosis in Germany between 1985 and 1994: comparison of three selected patient groups.

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University Children's Hospital, Heidelberg, Germany.



Clinical and epidemiologic features of childhood tuberculosis in Germany are unknown for recent years. The characteristics of patient groups may show typical differences, depending on the source of data.


To identify typical features of childhood tuberculosis in Germany, and to relate the characteristics of patient groups to the purpose of the reporting centres.


Comparative, retrospective, descriptive analysis of clinical and notification records by standardized data sheet. Evaluation of cases of active tuberculosis in children recorded between 1985 and 1994 at three study centres.


One clinical study centre was a referral centre for sick children with an unclear diagnosis, the second specialized in tuberculosis, and the third was a public health office. Almost two thirds (64%) of the 285 evaluated patients were four years of age and under. Between 73% and 96% of children suffered from pulmonary disease and 17% to 58% were culture positive (range between study centres). Source cases had been found for 23% to 52% of children, and the primary reason for clinical evaluation was a positive tuberculin test for between 12% and 57%. Foreign-born children showed characteristic differences.


The characteristics of reported childhood tuberculosis differ depending on the reporting centre. A significant number of notified cases were probably wrongly diagnosed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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