Medicina (Buenos Aires)
versión On-line ISSN 1669-9106
DARNAUD, Raquel; PRIETO, Veronica y SEQUEIRA, María Delfina. Tuberculous meningitis in children under 5 years of age in Argentina. Medicina (B. Aires) [online]. 2006, vol.66, n.2, pp. 119-124. ISSN 1669-9106.
Tuberculous (TB) meningitis in children under 5 years of age is a serious health problem in Argentina, with a rate of 0.39/100.000 inhabitants, for 2003-2004. This rate indicates recent infections. It is an operational indicator for case finding and treatment of pulmonary adult cases, and for BCG vaccination of the newborn. The object of this study was to describe epidemic and clinical variables registered in cases of TB meningitis in children less than 5 years old in Argentina, from 1999 to 2001 and to determine the real number of TB meningitis cases in our country. Fifteen cases of TB meningitis out of 32 (46.8%) were studied through epidemic records. The average age was 14 months. Six children presented BCG scars but in only one child it was proved that he had been vaccinated at birth; 11/13 (92.3%) were at the second stage of illness, the bacteriological investigation was positive in 8/11 (72.7%) and in (46.8%) chest radiography revealed abnormal findings. The tuberculin reaction was negative in all tested cases. This study showed that the diagnosis was made at an advanced stage of disease. None of these patients was cured without sequels and a high death rate (46%) was observed. In order to control this epidemic situation, it is necessary to increase case finding and directly observed treatment of smear positive pulmonary TB cases, as well as BCG vaccination given at birth.
Palabras clave : meningitis; tuberculosis; children; Argentina.