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J Infect Dis. 2012 May 15;205 Suppl 2:S216-27. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jis009. Epub 2012 Mar 22.

Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of tuberculosis in children and mothers: evidence for action for maternal, neonatal, and child health services.

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Stop TB Department, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.


Tuberculosis affected an estimated 8.8 million people and caused 1.4 million deaths globally in 2010, including a half-million women and at least 64 000 children. It also results in nearly 10 million cumulative orphans due to parental deaths. Moreover, it causes 6%-15% of all maternal mortality, which increases to 15%-34% if only indirect causes are considered. Increasingly, more women with tuberculosis are notified than men in settings with a high prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and maternal tuberculosis increases the vertical transmission of HIV. Tuberculosis prevention, diagnosis, and treatment services should be included as key interventions in the integrated management of pregnancy and child health. Tuberculosis screening using a simple clinical algorithm that relies on the absence of current cough, fever, weight loss, and night sweats should be used to identify eligible pregnant women living with HIV for isoniazid preventive therapy or for further investigation for tuberculosis disease as part of services for prevention of vertical HIV transmission. While implementing these simple, low-cost, effective interventions as part of maternal, neonatal, and child health services, the unmet basic and operational tuberculosis research needs of children, pregnant, and breastfeeding women should be addressed. National policy makers, program managers, and international stakeholders (eg, United Nations bodies, donors, and implementers) working on maternal, neonatal, and child health, especially in HIV-prevalent settings, should give due attention and include tuberculosis prevention, diagnosis, and treatment services as part of their core functions and address the public health impacts of tuberculosis in their programs and services.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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