Pp. 3-10 (8)
Luiz R.R. Castello-Branco and Paulo R.Z. Antas
Of the 9.2 million new tuberculosis cases occurring each year, about 10% are in children less
than 15-years old. Since childhood tuberculosis is usually non-infectious and non-fatal, management
programs often do not prioritize diagnosis and treatment. Experts in childhood tuberculosis believe that
children have been neglected in the worldwide effort to control this disease. Many reasons account for
this apathy towards the disease in the young: The majority of children with tuberculosis are not
infectious and consequently not considered to be as essential as adults with contagious tuberculosis, the
lack of a microbiological diagnosis of tuberculosis in children, and the relative neglect of pediatricians
and researchers in studying childhood tuberculosis. In fact, there is a rich scientific literature base
regarding childhood tuberculosis supporting simple practices, which, if adequately put into place, would
greatly improve the ability to diagnose and treat children with tuberculosis. This chapter will focus on
historical aspects of this ancient disease plus parameters related to childhood tuberculosis, including the
tubercle vaccine discovery and its first use in a French child. However, it does not focus on children and
in particular on infants as we intend to introduce tuberculosis as a whole to students and professionals
that are not familiar to the disease.
Tuberculosis, Historical Facts, Robert Koch, Vaccine Discovery.
Laboratorio de Imunologia Clinica, Fiocruz, Av. Brasil, # 4365; zip: 21045-900, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.