More children get tuberculosis

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Almost a million children develop tuberculosis each year

Despite the success in containing this often fatal infectious disease, tuberculosis continues to be a health hazard that should not be underestimated worldwide. Scientists from Harvard Medical School (Boston) report in the specialist magazine "The Lancet" on the occasion of World Tuberculosis Day 2014, in particular due to the increasing spread of multi-resistant tuberculosis pathogens that the positive development of the past decades may be reversed. For the first time, the researchers performed a calculation of the worldwide spread of tuberculosis in children under the age of 15, and came to the conclusion that significantly more adolescents become infected than previously thought.

"Although children under the age of 15 make up more than 25 percent of the world's population, the worldwide incidence of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in children has never been quantified," report the researchers led by Dr. Mercedes Becerra from the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Therefore, in two computer models, taking into account the specific risk of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, the scientists calculated the probable number of infections in children under the age of 15. "After applying these calculated risks, we estimated that around 999,792 children developed tuberculosis in 2010," wrote Becerra and colleagues. The researchers report that 31,948 children had been infected with multi-resistant pathogens.

Significantly more tuberculosis infections in children than expected The numbers calculated for new tuberculosis infections in children in the computer model are around twice as high, according to the co-author of the study, Ted Cohen from the Institute of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health the indicated infection numbers of the World Health Organization (WHO) from the year 2011. With regard to the total number of tuberculosis infections of children under the age of 15, the deviation is even larger. Above all, the growing spread of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, in which the bacterial pathogens no longer respond to at least two common antibiotics, is particularly critical here.

Over one million deaths from tuberculosis per year The infectious disease tuberculosis is caused by bacteria of the genus Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which usually affect the lungs. WHO has coughed symptoms of active tuberculosis, sometimes with sputum or blood, chest pain or chest pain, general weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. In 2012, according to the WHO, 8.6 million people developed tuberculosis and 1.3 million died from the consequences of the infection. More than 95 percent of the deaths occurred in countries with low and middle incomes. According to WHO estimates, around 530,000 children were infected with tuberculosis in 2012. However, the calculations now presented by the US scientists show that in fact there were probably almost twice as many. (fp)

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