HIV-Positive Infants More Likely To Develop TB, Study Finds
HIV-positive infants are about 20 times more likely to develop tuberculosis than infants without HIV, according to a study recently published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, Reuters/Yahoo! News reports. Researchers from the Desmond Tutu TB Center at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, led by Anneke Hesseling, analyzed the prevalence of HIV and TB among infants attending the hospital between 2004 and 2006. The researchers found that 245 infants were confirmed as having TB, and they estimated that the incidence of TB was 1,596 cases per 100,000 population among HIV-positive infants and 65.9 cases per 100,000 population among HIV-negative infants. The report said, "HIV-infected infants were at a 24.1-fold higher risk of pulmonary tuberculosis and a 17.1-fold higher risk of disseminated tuberculosis."
Hesseling suggested that the higher TB incidence among the HIV-positive infants could be explained by their increased exposure to TB, immune depression associated with HIV and reduced efficacy of the BCG vaccine. She added that one way to reduce the incidence of TB among infants born to HIV-positive women is to implement TB testing among pregnant women. Hesseling also suggested routine HIV testing among infants with TB, prophylactic treatment for TB, improved HIV treatment access and newer vaccines as methods to curb the spread of TB (Shankar, Reuters/Yahoo! News, 12/29/08).
An abstract of the study is available online.