Monia Khemiri
Aymen Labessi
Samia Zouari
Aida Borgi
Fafany Ben Mansour
Fayçal Oubich
Faouzia Khaldi
Sihem Barsaoui


Background : The clinical polymorphism and the low yield bacteriological tests make the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TBC) in children often difficult.
The aim of this report is to specify hospital incidence of childhood TBC and to discuss problems in diagnosis. Methods: We reviewed retrospectively cases of TBC enrolled at Medicine A Department in Children’s Hospital of Tunis during the last ten years (1998 - 2007). Diagnosis of TB was supported according to bacteriological or histological confirmation or regarding the association of epidemiological data (TB contagium), clinical and radiological findings and favourable outcome with anti tuberculous drugs. 
Results: thirty children had TBC. They were 18 girls and 12 boys. The main age at diagnosis was 8. 6 years (3 months-14 years). All children were vaccinated with BCG. Thirteen patients had definite familial history of TBC contact. Tuberculin-skin test was positive in 15 patients. The diagnosis was supported within a mean period of 44 days (8, 240 days). Pulmonary TBC occurred in five patients and extra-pulmonary TBC in 25. Four patients had more than two TBC localizations. Miliary and TBC meningitis occurred in seven patients. The rate of diagnosis confirmation was 40%. Clinical outcome improved in 29 children with anti  tuberculosis therapy while one infant died with miliary TBC. Five patients developed pleural, neurological or bone sequelaes and another patient presented autoimmune bicytopenia, diffuse bronchectasis and pulmonary aspergillosis.
Conclusion: TBC occurs in 0,91/ year/1000 hospitalized children in our institution. Low diagnosis confirmation rate was observed with infants and in pleural and primary TBC. Although all patients received BCG vaccine, 23. 3% of them developed a life-threatening form of TBC.


childhood, tuberculosis, diagnosis



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