Tuberculosis (TB)

Childhood TB

kids in a remote village in Cambodia
S.Labelle/WHO

The urgency of the problem of TB in children, whose full scope is still not fully known, cannot be underestimated. According to WHO estimates, 210 000 children died of TB in 2015 including 40 000 deaths among children who were HIV-positive and 1 million children became ill with TB. However, the actual burden of TB in children is likely higher given the challenge in diagnosing childhood TB.

WHO and its partners have developed a roadmap for reaching the goal of zero TB deaths among children worldwide. Achieving this requires sustained advocacy, greater commitment, mobilization of increased resources and a joint effort by all stakeholders involved in providing health care for children and in TB control.

fact buffet

Burden

1 MillionAt least 1 million children become ill with TB each year. Children represent about 10-11% of all TB cases

FDC Factsheet
pdf, 639kb

Mortality

210 000This includes 40 000 TB deaths among children who were HIV-positive

More on TB/HIV co-infection
pdf, 645kb

Reporting disaggregated by age

5Only 5 countries do not yet report to WHO the notification of cases among children

Global TB Report 2016

Key topics

Who is at risk?

Children can present with TB disease at any age but most commonly, in TB-endemic countries, between 1-4 years. Pulmonary TB is the commonest type of TB in children. Extrapulmonary TB can present in a wide variety of anatomical sites.

Support provided by GTB to countries

GTB supports programme implementation through indirect, and direct support. Support is requested through WHO and partners. GTB works closely with partners to ensure appropriate TA is provided to meet the needs as identified.

News, events and meetings

  • 26 October 2016, Liverpool, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

    Annual meeting of the Childhood TB subgroup

    The annual meeting of the Childhood TB subgroup was organized on Wednesday 26 October 2016 in Liverpool, UK. The meeting focused on country experiences in scaling up the response to childhood TB and on what needs to be done to move the agenda forward.

  • 25 October 2016

    WHO guidance for the use of delamanid in children and adolescents

    Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a public health challenge of growing concern. Approximately 580 000 people acquired MDR-TB in 2015, with children accounting for close to 30 000 of MDR-TB cases.

    The use of delamanid in the treatment of MDR-TB was recommended by the WHO in 2014. However, due to the lack of evidence on the use of delamanid in the paediatric populations, these interim policy recommendations were limited to adult MDR-TB patients under very strict conditions. In view of recent data on the use of delamanid in children diagnosed with MDR-TB, WHO convened an independent, multidisciplinary, international expert panel to assess new data and develop an addendum to the 2014 interim guidance on delamanid, with specific recommendations to paediatric MDR-TB patients.

    Based on the assessment of this evidence and recommendations from the expert panel, the WHO now recommends that delamanid may be added to the WHO-recommended longer regimen in children and adolescents
    (6 – 17 years).

  • October 2016

    In December 2015, WHO and partners introduced child-friendly forms of TB fixed dose combinations (FDCs), in line with WHO dosing recommendations. This is an important step in improving treatment and child survival from TB, and slowing the spread of drug-resistant TB. WHO and partners are providing technical assistance to countries to make the FDCs available widely. As of October 2016, nearly 30 countries are already procuring the Childhood TB FDCs.