How is the diagnosis of tuberculosis classified in children?

  1. Suspected tuberculosis: The chest X-ray in an ill child suggests tuberculosis.
  2. Probable tuberculosis: The chest X-ray suggests tuberculosis in a child who is failing to thrive, has a chronic cough, has a positive Mantoux skin test and/or has a history of contact with an adult suffering from untreated tuberculosis.
  3. Confirmed tuberculosis: In addition to the above, TB bacilli are seen or grown from the sputum or any other body fluid.

Unfortunately the diagnosis of tuberculosis is often only suspected or probable and cannot be confirmed. These infants need to be treated as if they had confirmed tuberculosis.

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