Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Dodd: We found that over 650,000 children under the age of 15 developed tuberculosis in the 22 highest burden countries in 2010, with around 7.6 million becoming infected with the bacillus and more than 50 million harboring latent infection.
Our work points to a much larger gap between notifications and incidence in children compared to adults.
Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Dodd: It is known that tuberculosis in children is often under-diagnosed and under-reported. However, traditional burden estimates start from notification figures, and it is challenging to determine how much to scale up these figures in children to arrive at incidence. Our approach used mathematical modelling to start from the estimated tuberculosis burden in adults, which introduces more uncertainty, but circumvents this problem.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Dodd: Tuberculosis in children is a major health problem globally, and wider use of isoniazid preventive therapy in eligible children exposed to tuberculosis should be facilitated. Improving diagnosis and reporting of tuberculosis in children should be on the public health agenda.