Objective: To determine the extent of transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to pediatric patients exposed to a pediatrician with smear- and culture-positive pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). Methods: Clinic billing and hospital admission records were used to identify patients seen during the pediatrician's infectious period. Patients were notified of the potential exposure and were offered screening. Results: A total of 1416 pediatric patients were identified as exposed. Of the 606 who completed screening, 12 (2%) had a skin test result ≤10 mm, 2 (0.3%) had a result 5 to 9 mm, and 592 (98%) had a negative test result (0 to 4 mm). No active TB cases were identified. Of the 14 children with a skin test result ≤5 mm, 7 were U.S.- born and had no other risk factor for a positive skin test. The remaining seven had either been exposed to another person with infectious TB or were from countries with a high prevalence of TB. Conclusion: We found evidence of limited transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the outpatient pediatric setting. Despite extensive resource dedication, only 43% of exposed children completed screening. In similar situations decisions should balance the responsibility to protect children exposed to Mycobacterium tuberculosis with other public health priorities and available resources.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health