Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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Childhood tuberculosis (TB) has been neglected for decades as a key component of TB control. However, ensuring proper monitoring of childhood TB has recently been given renewed emphasis. A descriptive analysis of surveillance data was performed to assess burden and trends of paediatric TB in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) between 2000 and 2009. From 2000 to 2009, 39,695 notified paediatric (defined as 0-14 years of age) TB cases were reported by the 27 EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. These paediatric cases accounted for 4.3% of all notified cases. However, across the EU/EEA Member States, paediatric case notification rates ranged from 29.6 per 100,000 to 0.3 per 100,000 for the latest reporting year, 2009. Overall, though, these rates dropped from 5.5 per 100,000 in 2000 to 4.2 per 100,000 in 2009. The EU/EEA average annual percent changes (AAPC) in paediatric notification rates decreased between 2000 and 2004 by 1.3% and between 2005 and 2009 by 2.4%, with an overall decrease between 2000 and 2009 of 2.8%. Of all paediatric cases reported from 2000 to 2009, only 16.9% were culture-confirmed, amongst which the overall treatment success was 80.5% for all culture-confirmed pulmonary paediatric TB cases. Childhood TB in the EU/EEA remains a public health issue. Due attention should be paid to assessing paediatric trends as they could provide an insight in recent transmission. Whilst the primary aim of further reducing TB rates among children is paramount, better rates of appropriate diagnosis should also be achieved, along with a further improvement of therapeutic success rates.


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