Pediatric TB Management under RNTCP: What and Why?
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Childhood tuberculosis does not get the attention it deserves, both in the general child health services and the TB specific services. The difficulty in identification of the organism due to lack of proper sample as well as lower sensitivity of the smear, made it harder to detect cases with ease in the community. Newer diagnostic methods like cartridge based nucleic acid amplification tests (CBNAAT) and line probe assays (LPA) have the capacity to rapidly identify Mycobacterium tuberculosis with an improved sensitivity over the smear testing and have been employed under Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) across the country. As the symptoms suggestive of TB are very common and overlapping, the final yield of TB testing is better if the microbiological confirmation is done on good quality specimen from cases suspected of TB based on clinical and radiological abnormalities. Newer tests also provide simultaneous detection of much critical Rifampicin resistance. A Rifampicin resistant case is not only unlikely to respond to first-line standard therapy but such a treatment can result in further amplification of resistance to other companion drugs. Prevention of spread of the drug resistant disease thus requires that the treatment is guided by universal drug sensitivity testing (U-DST) of all TB cases. Furthermore, several changes have come up in the treatment of TB and are discussed. The dosages of anti TB drugs have been revised upwardly for optimal drug levels and now the fixed drug combinations are used under RNTCP. With the awareness about high initial Isoniazid (INH) resistance and its contribution to failure of retreatment regime, a companion third drug (Ethambutol) has been added to the continuation phase of the first-line therapy. The standard retreatment regime, better known as category II therapy, has been replaced by specific therapy as per the resistance pattern detected. The TB control activities have thus evolved a lot and the present article discusses the evolution and the current status of diagnostics and therapy of TB in children.
KeywordsChildren Drug resistance Drug sensitive Mycobacterium RNTCP U-DST
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