Tuberculosis in children and adolescents in Ecuador: analysis of reporting, disease characteristics and treatment outcome

Silva et al.


To estimate the tuberculosis (TB) burden in children under 15 years of age and to describe the clinical and epidemiological characteristics and the results of the anti-tuberculosis treatment in Ecuador.


A retrospective study was carried out using data from the national TB programm for 2015 and 2016. The rate and percentage of cases of childhood TB were estimated and the disease characteristics and treatment outcome were described according to age categories: 0-4, 5-9 and 10-14 years.


Of the 10 991 cases of TB diagnosed, 223 (2.03%) were under 15 years of age; depending on the region, this burden ranged from 0 to 5.5%. Of the 223 cases, 213 had their treatment outcome registered and were included in the study; 78 (37%) were younger than 5 years and 147 (69%) had no record of contact screening. Sixty-five (68%) of the adolescents and 40 (51%) of the children under 5 had a diagnosis of pulmonary TB. HIV prevalence was 11.5% in children under 5 and 6.3% in the 10-14 age group. Treatment was succesful in 93% of cases (cure, 36.6%, treatment completed, 56.8%).


Ecuador presents a high percentage of under-diagnosis of childhood TB and a lower than expected burden, mainly in children under 5 years of age. The high prevalence of HIV and the lack of adequate systematization of adolescent contact screening suggest the need to consider family-centered strategies that involve training health personnel in the management of pediatric patients, with a focus on the specific needs of each population.

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