Latent tuberculosis infection and tuberculosis in children and adolescents

ABSTRACT Objective: To describe the characteristics of patients diagnosed with tuberculosis and latent tuberculosis infection. Methods: A retrospective study, between 2012 and 2015, with data from patients of Programa Einstein na Comunidade de Paraisópolis. To evaluate possible factors associated with patient's sex and diagnoses of tuberculosis and latent tuberculosis infection, χ2 or Fisher's exact tests were used for qualitative variables, and Mann-Whitney test for quantitative or ordinal qualitative variables. Results: A total of 77 patients were evaluated. Age ranged from 6 months to 13.4 years, with a majority of males (54.5%), aged zero to 4 years (54.5%), diagnosed with latent tuberculosis infection (64.9%), and classified as eutrophic (71.2%). The tuberculin test was positive in 92% and in most cases the values were above 10mm (68.0%). Approximately three-quarters of chest X-ray tests were normal (72.7%). After chest X-ray, computed tomography of thorax was the most ordered exam (29.9%), followed by smear and culture for Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the gastric aspirate (28.6%). The frequencies of altered chest X-ray (70.4% versus 4.0%), computed tomography of thorax requests (55.6% versus 16.0%) and other tests requested (81.5% versus 38.0%) were significantly higher in patients with a diagnosis of tuberculosis, relative to those with latent tuberculosis infection, respectively. Conclusion: In our sample, proportions of altered chest X-ray, and performing computed tomography of thorax and other tests in patients diagnosed with tuberculosis were higher than in those with latent tuberculosis infection.