Children are always at a higher risk of developing tuberculosis as they have a very weak immune system that cannot fight against the dreaded bacteria. TB diagnosis in children is quite difficult because children below the age of 10 years could not develop enough sputum that can be tested for TB diagnosis. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), TB alone kills around 1 lakh children every year worldwide.
In children, TB is diagnosed on the basis of physical symptoms such as loss of weight and occurrence of cough, and also if the child is in contact with any TB patient for a long period of time. Tuberculosis prevailing in children is called paediatric tuberculosis. Paediatric tuberculosis is quite different from adult tuberculosis as their risk factors are different f. It is not easy to cure as young child becomes resistant to BCG vaccines in course of time.
There are numerous risk factors for tuberculosis infection in children:
It’s better to prevent childhood tuberculosis than trying to curing it. One can do this by giving proper TB vaccine to the child after the birth and by breastfeeding for at least 6 months. Breast milk enhances the child’s immunity. The disease can also be prevented by keeping the child away from a TB infected person and by proper screening of the child.
TB can prove detrimental to children causing deafness, blindness and paralysis. It can cause spinal and bone deformities in children. Childhood TB can be cured more effectively by eradicating adult TB. This will directly reduce the occurrence of paediatric TB as children would be safeguarded from the airborne infection. A proper health care system especially designed for children is necessary to fight tuberculosis.
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