Researchers from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS) have estimated that around 1 million children contract tuberculosis (TB) annually — twice the number previously thought to have the disease and three times the number of cases diagnosed every year. The researchers also estimated that around 32,000 children a year suffer from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). These findings were published today in The Lancet.
“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,” said Ted Cohen, 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 [World Health Organization] in 2011 and three times the number of child TB cases notified globally each year,” said Cohen, who is also associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health.