Upsurge of paediatric tuberculosis in Port Harcourt, Nigeria: Has HIV infection any role?

  • D D Awi Department of Paediatrics, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
  • A R Nte


Background: The Niger Delta region in Southern Nigeria is peculiar, not only for its oil and mineral resources, but also, for the adverse socio-environmental factors, which enhance the occurrence of communicable diseases like tuberculosis and Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Because childhood tuberculous infection is a reflection of ongoing transmission in the community and can be reactivated as adult TB, which in turn maintains a chain of transmission, it is important to determine its incidence in this region. Aims: To describe the pattern of paediatric tuberculosis at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), Port Harcourt, in the Niger Delta and the role, if any, of HIV co-infection in the cases. Methods: A retrospective analysis of children diagnosed to have tuberculosis, using clinical data, tuberculin test and chest radiography, and managed at the UPTH from January 1, 2002 to October 31, 2005 was done. Results: Out of 13,367 children aged 0-15 years who received care at UPTH during the period under review, 188 had tuberculosis. The median age of the tuberculosis cases was 2 years. Seventy six percent were under-fives and 53.2% HIV seropositive. Pulmonary tuberculosis (80.6%) was the commonest form of the disease. The proportional incidence of tuberculosis and HIV co-infection increased from 0.88% in 2002 to 87.5% in 2005. Conclusions: Tuberculosis and HIV co-infection seems to be an emerging pattern of paediatric tuberculosis infection in Port Harcourt. There is therefore a need to screen all children with tuberculosis for the presence of HIV co-infection.

Keywords: Childhood tuberculosis; HIV co-infection

Port Harcourt Medical Journal Vol. 1 (2) 2007: pp.113-118

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