Female Age: 4

Background:

Although TB is no longer a widespread killer, it remains a dangerous disease that can cause disability or death if untreated. The World Health Organization reports that one-third of the world’s population is infected. In the United States, as well as in Texas, about 10 percent of reported TB cases occur in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Two types of tests are available for patients whose TB risk assessment questionnaire is positive: the conventional tuberculin skin test (TST) and newer blood tests known as the IGRAs. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the new class of blood tests measures how the immune system reacts to TB bacteria.

Isla’s TB screen indicates a risk for TB exposure because she recently spent more than three weeks in the Caribbean, where the TB incidence rate is among the highest in the world. The CDC recommends that children with TB risk factors be tested before symptoms appear. Early detection and treatment can prevent development of TB disease. Young children are especially vulnerable to developing life-threatening forms of TB.