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TB Notes 3, 2004


International Childhood Tuberculosis Initiatives

In October 2002, CDC sponsored a 2-day meeting that brought together experts on childhood TB to discuss research priorities. Funding was provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and participants included pediatricians, national TB program managers, and representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO), USAID, the International Pediatrics Association (IPA), the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (IUATLD), the National Institutes for Health (NIH), and CDC.  Results of this meeting were published in the May edition of the International Journal of TB and Lung Disease.

A subsequent meeting was held in October 2003 to begin developing international guidelines for the diagnosis and management of children with TB. A writing committee was formed, and these guidelines are nearing completion. This meeting included many of the same participants, and was also sponsored by CDC and funded by USAID.

As a result of the renewed interest in childhood TB and the advocacy efforts of many of these same groups, in October 2003 the STOP TB Partnership announced the formation of a new Childhood TB subgroup of the DOTS Expansion Working Group.  This represents the first time that there has been a forum as part of the STOP TB Partnership for discussing issues related to childhood TB. One of the first activities of the Working Group will be to finalize the guidelines for treatment of childhood TB. The Working Group elected a chair, Professor Robert Gie from the University of Stellebosch in South Africa, and is planning to hold the first core group meeting in August 2004. The issues to be discussed include the role of children in the DOTS strategy, making child-friendly dosages and preparations more available through the Global Drug Facility, and advocating that children’s health be part of more STOP TB Partnership activities.

CDC staff have been involved in a number of projects related to TB in children, including a descriptive study of children with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB) in Latvia, Peru, Russia, and South Africa, a study of children who are contacts of MDR TB cases in Latvia, an annual risk of TB infection (ARTI) survey in Russia using routine data on schoolchildren who are tested annually, and several studies in Botswana on (1) new diagnostic methods for TB in children; (2) outcomes of children treated for TB; (3) an assessment of contact investigation practices, including the exploration of joint screening for TB and HIV; and (4) a 3-year ARTI survey among school children to assess a new method for determining infection rates, and to determine trends in rates of infection in Botswana.

Two CDC staff are members of the Childhood TB Working Group, Drs. Lisa Nelson and Mary Reichler. We hope that this new momentum and the working group will foster greater interest in children with TB, as well as opportunities for research and collaborative projects in the future.

—Submitted by Lisa Nelson, MD
Div of TB Elimination


Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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