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PLOS ONE  2014 

Childhood Tuberculosis in Northern Viet Nam: A Review of 103 Cases

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097267

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Background Childhood tuberculosis causes significant morbidity and mortality in Southeast Asia, yet little is known about the epidemiology and clinical characteristics of this disease in Viet Nam. Objectives To determine the demographics, clinical presentations, radiographic and microbiologic findings, treatment regimens, and outcomes of children admitted with tuberculosis (TB) to a national referral hospital in Viet Nam. Methods We conducted a retrospective case series study of children ≤ 15 years old with bacteriologically confirmed or clinically diagnosed TB admitted to a national referral hospital in Ha Noi, Viet Nam from January through December 2007. Results One hundred three children were identified: median age 5 years (IQR 2-10), 44% female, 99% Kinh ethnicity, 27% residing in Ha Noi, 88% with BCG vaccination, 27% with known TB contact, and 38% malnourished. Intrathoracic TB was present in 62%, extrathoracic in 52%, both intra and extrathoracic in 19%, and undetermined site in 5%. The most common extrathoracic manifestation was peripheral lymphadenitis, and children under 5 were more likely to have miliary TB or both intra and extrathoracic TB. Fever and failure to thrive were common presenting symptoms among all participants (65% and 56%, respectively), 66% of those with intrathoracic TB presented with cough, and 92% of those with TB meningitis presented with severe neurologic impairment. Acid-fast bacilli smears and mycobacterial cultures were positive in 18% and 21% of children tested, and histopathology was positive in 88% of those biopsied. There were no adverse drug reactions necessitating change in therapy, and no inpatient mortality. Conclusions Extrathoracic TB was common, treatment well tolerated and clinical outcomes excellent. Culture confirmation rates were low and emphasize the need for improved diagnostics.


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