Chapter 1


Luiz R.R. Castello-Branco and Paulo R.Z. Antas


Of the 9.2 million new tuberculosis cases occurring each year, about 10% are in children less than 15-years old. Since childhood tuberculosis is usually non-infectious and non-fatal, management programs often do not prioritize diagnosis and treatment. Experts in childhood tuberculosis believe that children have been neglected in the worldwide effort to control this disease. Many reasons account for this apathy towards the disease in the young: The majority of children with tuberculosis are not infectious and consequently not considered to be as essential as adults with contagious tuberculosis, the lack of a microbiological diagnosis of tuberculosis in children, and the relative neglect of pediatricians and researchers in studying childhood tuberculosis. In fact, there is a rich scientific literature base regarding childhood tuberculosis supporting simple practices, which, if adequately put into place, would greatly improve the ability to diagnose and treat children with tuberculosis. This chapter will focus on historical aspects of this ancient disease plus parameters related to childhood tuberculosis, including the tubercle vaccine discovery and its first use in a French child. However, it does not focus on children and in particular on infants as we intend to introduce tuberculosis as a whole to students and professionals that are not familiar to the disease.

Total Pages: 3-10 (8)

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