Saturday, December 9, 2017
TB a leading cause of death among children worldwide. Tuberculosis ranks among the top 10 causes of death among children around the world, a mathematical modeling study showed. Researchers wrote that the disease represents a “key omission” from analyses of mortality in children aged younger than 5 years. “The UN Inter-agency Group on Child Mortality Estimation tracks overall under-5 mortality, and breakdowns by cause of death have been estimated by the study group formerly known as the Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group, most recently in 2016,” Peter J. Dodd, PhD, of the University of Sheffield, UK, and colleagues wrote. “These estimates have been important in assessing progress toward targets, directing public health funding and spending and for advocacy. However, tuberculosis has never been explicitly mentioned in these reports. The researchers used a mathematical model to estimate deaths of children aged younger than 5 years in 217 countries and territories. Dodd and colleagues disaggregated WHO pediatric TB estimates by age, as well as treatment status and HIV status, using pediatric TB notification data and pediatric ART estimates. Most deaths –more than 70% – occurred in southeast Asia and Africa (n = 182,000; 95% CI, 140,000-239,000), the researchers reported. Seventeen percent (n = 39,000; 95% CI, 23,000-73,000) of children who died had HIV, with 31,000 of those children living in Africa (36%; 95% CI, 19,000-59,000). The vast majority of children who died (96%; n = 230,000; 95% CI, 185,000-289,000) did not receive treatment for TB, Dodd and colleagues wrote. The large mortality burden of undiagnosed pediatric tuberculosis should … not spur hopelessness, but action; these new estimates identify a prime opportunity to address an under-recognized and preventable cause of child deaths.