Maternal and neonatal tuberculosis (TB) are under-recognised, particularly in settings with a high burden of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
This study consisted of a retrospective audit of neonates routinely screened for TB in a South African hospital during 2009. Surveillance sources reviewed included routine clinical, laboratory and pharmacy records.
Results showed that among 70 neonates (60% HIV-exposed) screened for TB, the median gestational age was 35.5 weeks (IQR 33-38), and the median birth weight was 2000 g (IQR 1530-2484). The neonates were grouped according to a history of documented TB exposure: maternal TB in 41/70 (59%), suspected maternal TB in 9/70 (13%), other documented household TB exposure in 5/70 (7%), and no known TB exposure 15/70 (21%). Of the 50 neonates exposed to confirmed or suspected maternal TB, 36 (72%) were initiated on TB chemoprophylaxis, 5 (10%) received TB treatment and 9 (18%) received no intervention. Eight (8/50, 16%) were diagnosed with TB, all of whom were born to mothers with suspected or proven TB.
The study concluded that maternal TB, primarily among HIV-infected women, was the main indication for TB screening of neonates. Routine TB screening of pregnant women and TB care in mothers and infants should be improved in settings with a high burden of TB and HIV.
Bekker, A.; Du Preez, K.; Schaaf, HS.; Cotton, MF.; Hesseling, AC. High tuberculosis exposure among neonates in a high tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus burden setting. International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (2012) 16 (8) 1040-1046. [DOI: 10.5588/ijtld.11.0821]