200 children dying from preventable TB daily

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TB testing

Tuberculosis in children remains a hidden epidemic in  most countries killing more than 70,000 children annually, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Children under 3 years of age and those with severe malnutrition or immune systems compromised by HIV and other diseases are at greatest risk of developing TB often transmitted by infected parents or care givers.

WHO says TB often goes undiagnosed in children from birth to 15 years old because they lack access to health services – or because the health workers who care for them are unprepared to recognize the signs and symptoms of TB in this age group.

Dr Malgosia Grzemska from the WHO Stop TB Department says all children exposed to TB in their homes should be placed under treatment even in the absence of conclusive diagnosis.

"The symptoms unfortunately may not be very specific. And that probably one of the reasons why it may go unattended and diagnosed. Children may not even cough which is the most common symptom in the adults. What is actually tragic is that this disease is fully preventable and curable in children if properly diagnosed. And it's not very expensive to treat. It only costs about 3 US cents per day for the preventative treatment with a drug called Isoniazid and it only costs 50 US cents per day for the full treatment regiment for children who get the disease."

Duration 41"

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January 2018
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