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Diagnosing tuberculosis
  1. U Heininger
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor Ulrich Heininger
    University Children’s Hospital Basel, PO Box, 4005 Basel, Switzerland; Ulrich.Heiningerunibas.ch

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Commentary on the paper by Swingler et al (see page 1153)

Although pulmonary tuberculosis is now reasonably well controlled in most industrialised countries, it still is a major and even increasing medical problem from a global perspective. The World Health Organisation estimated there were 8.8 million new cases worldwide in 2002, with case numbers currently growing by 2.4% per year.1 Many problems surround the fight against tuberculosis, including the emergence of multi-drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis, compliance with treatment, and identification of new cases in order to avoid further spread of the disease. In children, who contract rather than transmit M tuberculosis, early diagnosis followed by appropriate treatment is important to reduce morbidity and mortality.2 However, the frequently non-specific symptoms of disease, interference of BCG immunisation with tuberculin skin testing, uncertainties with the interpretation of x ray findings, and the rare isolation of organisms from bronchial secretions are all factors that contribute to the difficulty in diagnosing pulmonary tuberculosis in children.

In this respect, the work published by …

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