World TB Day 2014

“TB in a child is recognized as a sentinel event. It tells us about ongoing transmission and missed opportunities for prevention,” said Mercedes Becerra, one of the study’s authors and an associate professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Improved estimates are essential so that we can begin to understand the unmet need for pediatric TB treatment.” –Frontline

Each year, we recognize World TB Day on March 24. This annual event commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis (TB).

To coincide with World TB Day 2014, The Lancet published, Incidence of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis disease in children: systematic review and global estimates as an early online publication. Authored by Helen E. Jenkins PhD, Arielle W. Tollman BA, Courtney M. Yuen PhD, Jonathan B. Parr MD, Salmaan Keshavjee MD, Carlos M. Perez-Velez MD, Marcello Pagano PhD, Mercedes C. Becerra ScD, Ted Cohen MD, the publication estimates that one million children suffer from tuberculosis annually--twice the number previously thought to have TB—and three times the number that are diagnosed. Researchers also estimate that about 32,000 children suffer from MDR—TB every year.

The Lancet publication has sparked much interest and media attention.

  • WGHB News Greater Boston | Tracking Tuberculosis, A 'Silent Killer' | Video
  • Harvard Medical School News | 1 Million Children Have TB | Article by Jake Miller
  • PBS Frontline | Childhood TB is Twice as Bad as Once Thought, Study Finds | Article by Jason M. Breslow
  • Partners In Health | MDR-TB in Children: A Q&A with PIH's Dr. Mercedes Becerra | Posted March 24, 2014