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Tuberculosis in children may be diagnosed using simpler test

The current diagnosis method for tuberculosis in children involves a procedure called a gastric lavage. The procedure needs to be done three times and requires hospitalization for two days as well as food abstinence for a night. However, South African researchers have found that a sputum sample coughed up by a child may be used for diagnosis of TB. It was previously thought that young children and infants are incapable of producing a sputum sample. Tuberculosis is the largest cause of death in South African people with HIV but it is preventable and treatable as long as it is diagnosed. The incidence of tuberculosis has be decreasing by up to 6% each year in the US but this figure is starting to stablise with the incidence actually increasing in some areas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US claims that 14,784 cases of TB were reported in the US in 2003 (55 were under 5 years old and 367 were aged 5 to 14). The study results found that the sputum induction test detected 54 of 62 TB infections whereas gastric lavage detected only 40. Another study found that having a patient swallows a piece of string and then sputum induction produced an increased rate of diagnosis compared to sputum induction only (14 compared to 8). The string test thus needs to be followed up with more research.

Source: summary of medical news story as reported by HealthDay Reporter

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About: Tuberculosis in children may be diagnosed using simpler test

Date: 6 January 2005

Source: HealthDay Reporter

Author: Ed Edelson


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