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TB killed 60,000 children below 15 in India, highest in the world

The study showed that of the 2.39 lakh children who died of TB in the world, 80% were below the age of five.

mumbai Updated: Aug 20, 2017 01:53 IST
Aayushi Pratap
Aayushi Pratap
Hindustan Times
TB,India,children

India rrecorded the highest number of tuberculosis (TB) related deaths among children below the age of 15 in the world in 2015, according to a study published in the scientific journal The Lancet.

Tuberculosis, which is curable, is an airborne disease caused by a bacterium called mycobacterium tuberculosis. Studies have shown that poor diagnosis coupled with incorrect treatment regimen has resulted in substantial increase in TB burden in developing counties such as India.

The findings showed that 60,000 children in India died of TB in 2015, followed by Nigeria and China. Paediatric cases of TB in particular have become a pressing concern worldwide, owing to difficulties in diagnosis.

“Diagnostic methods for TB are imperfect and performed poorly on children because of difficulties in obtaining samples and low bacillary load,” read the report.

The study showed that of the 2.39 lakh children who died of TB in the world, 80% were below the age of five.

“This implies that TB should rank as a major cause of deaths among children younger than five,” wrote the authors.

Another important finding was that of the total mortalities, a staggering 96% of the children were not on any treatment. Dr Yatin Dholakia, a TB specialist, said, “They (the authors) have assumed that the estimated child TB cases not notified are not on treatment and also they have not taken BCG vaccine into account.

The authors said that the mortality rate could be halved if case-detection ratio was improved. The study also found that 17% of children who died were also living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV infection).

First Published: Aug 20, 2017 01:53 IST