To investigate an increase in active pediatric tuberculosis (TB) cases in North Carolina from 9 cases in 2001 to 32 cases in 2002, and to pilot test a screening tool for detection of latent TB infection in children.
Retrospective cohort and cross-sectional study.
State of North Carolina and a county public health department pediatric clinic.
Children younger than 15 years with TB in North Carolina from January 1, 1994, to December 31, 2002, and children younger than 21 years initially seen in a primary care public health department pediatric clinic from July 16, 2004, to December 8, 2004.
We reviewed medical records for 180 children (<15 years) with active TB reported in North Carolina. We subsequently initiated a screening project at a county public health department pediatric clinic.
Main Outcome Measures
Incidence of TB and prevalence of latent TB infection.
One hundred eighty pediatric TB cases were reported from 1994 to 2002. Compared with 0.2 case per 100 000 non-Hispanic white children, the incidence rates were 3.0 cases per 100 000 non-Hispanic black children (P = .003) and 4.5 cases per 100 000 Hispanic children (P = .01); 88.3% of pediatric patients with TB were nonwhite. The screening project detected 2 cases of latent TB infection among 864 US-born children of foreign-born parents.
The burden of pediatric TB is almost entirely borne by black and Hispanic children in North Carolina. Tuberculin skin testing of US-born children of foreign-born parents is of low yield; more efficient screening strategies are necessary.