Researchers from BWH and Harvard Medical School have estimated that around one million children suffer from tuberculosis (TB) annually— twice the number previously thought to have tuberculosis and three times the number that are diagnosed every year.
The researchers also estimated that around 32,000 children suffer from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) annually. These findings were published in The Lancet on March 23, 2014.
“Despite children comprising approximately one quarter of the world’s population, there have been no previous estimates of how many suffer from MDR-TB disease,” explained Ted Cohen, MD, DrPH, HMS associate professor of Medicine in BWH’s Division of Global Health Equity and co-senior author of this study. “Our estimate of the total number of new cases of childhood TB is twice that estimated by the WHO in 2011 and three times the number of child TB cases notified globally each year.”
These findings underscore the urgent need for expanded investment in the global response to TB and MDR-TB in children.
“Our findings demonstrate that there is a need for improved methods for collecting data on childhood TB. A good starting place would be improved diagnostic methods for children and more systematic collection of information on how many children are suffering with this disease,” explained Helen Jenkins, PhD, HMS instructor in BWH’s Division of Global Health Equity and lead statistician on the project.
Read more about the study in this article by Fox News.