Tuberculosis Risk for Children Adopted Internationally

July 9, 2008

It is common for internationally adopted children to have latent tuberculosis infection and to have an initial false negative result from a tuberculin skin test, according to a report published in the July issue of Pediatrics.

WEDNESDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- It is common for internationally adopted children to have latent tuberculosis infection and to have an initial false negative result from a tuberculin skin test, according to a report published in the July issue of Pediatrics.

Indi Trehan, M.D., of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, and colleagues conducted a study of 527 internationally adopted children examined at the university's International Adoption Center who were given a tuberculin skin test within two months of arrival in the United States. Children whose initial skin tests were negative for tuberculosis were re-tested after three months.

Latent tuberculosis infection was initially detected in 111 (21 percent) of the children, and 191 children (46.9 percent) of those initially with a negative skin test were re-tested. Of these, 20 percent had latent tuberculosis, but none had active tuberculosis disease.

"Identifying and treating immigrants who are infected with tuberculosis on their arrival in a low-endemicity area is an opportunity and an obligation of which clinicians must be aware, not only to protect the health of the immigrant but also to limit the spread of tuberculosis to the domestic population," the authors write. "Repeat tuberculosis testing of all internationally adopted children with an initially negative tuberculin skin test should be the standard of care for identifying tuberculosis infection and preventing tuberculosis disease in this high-risk population."

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