New WHO guidance on treating drug-resistant tuberculosis in children and adolescents

05 November 2019

Article: 53/4405

The World Health Organization (WHO) (European Region) has released an expert opinion on managing drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) in children and adolescents.

DR-TB is particularly dangerous, with many young people suffering through non-diagnosis. It is estimated that, in the WHO European Region, two thousand children under the age of 15 with TB remain undiagnosed each year, while this figure is believed to be higher in 15–19 year olds.

Of those infected, 14% have dangerous and hard-to-treat forms of TB. This raises the risk that those who are undiagnosed with DR-TB will unknowingly spread the disease to large numbers of people.

The new guidance is evidence-based and provides updates on recent scientific evidence, as well as region-specific clinical and public health recommendations on tackling DR-TB in children and adolescents.

The guidance also recommends using the TB drug bedaquiline, if necessary, to help patients with DR-TB, including children aged six years and older. It is recommended that children of three years and older be given delamanid, another recently developed TB drug.

The expert opinion is supported by a commentary in the Lancet.

Source: WHO Europe, 31 October 2019