World Tuberculosis Day: One million children suffer from TB annually

Last Updated: Monday, March 24, 2014 - 13:55

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: Notwithstanding the improved medication and the successive efforts by the governments, a new research has revealed that the number of children suffering from tuberculosis (TB) annually has doubled since 2011.

The shocking research has also revealed that around 32,000 children suffer from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) annually.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS) in Boston have estimated that around one million children suffer from TB annually- twice the number previously thought to have tuberculosis and three times the number that are diagnosed every year, the researchers claimed.

“Despite children comprising approximately one quarter of the world's population, there have been no previous estimates of how many suffer from MDR-TB disease,” said Ted Cohen, an associate professor of medicine at BWH.

Cohen, who is also an associate professor at Harvard School of Public Health added, “Our estimate of the total number of new cases of childhood TB is twice than estimated by the WHO in 2011 and three times the number of child TB cases notified globally each year.”

According to co-author Mercedes Becerra, an associate professor at HMS, “TB in a child is recognised as a sentinel event. It tells us about ongoing transmission and missed opportunities for prevention.”

In order to obtain these estimates, the researchers used several sources of publicly available data and devised a new method to correct for the chronic under-diagnosis that occurs in children, using conventional TB tests which were designed for and work best on adults.

To calculate both the regional and global annual incidence of MDR-TB in children, the researchers used two models.

Their findings indicate that around 1,000,000 children developed TB disease in 2010 and of those, 32,000 had MDR-TB.

The research, whcih has been published in the prestigious journal The Lancet, emphasises the urgent need for expanded investment in the global response to TB and MDR-TB in children.

World Tuberculosis Day is being observed each year on March 24, with an aim to build public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis and efforts to eradicate the disease.

According to the WHO, Tuberculosis is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer due to a single infectious agent worldwide. Today, TB causes the deaths of about 1.7 million people each year, mostly in the Third World.

With Agency Inputs

First Published: Monday, March 24, 2014 - 13:55

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