To end TB, we need to stop the disease in its tracks by shielding the most vulnerable groups from progressing from latent infection to active disease.
Children Under the Age of Five
Children are at highest risk of dying from TB. By treating all children under the age of five who are exposed to TB, we’re stopping the next generation from dying from TB. The World Health Organization recommends that all patients exposed to TB or multidrug-resistant (MDR)-TB should be treated for latent TB infection.
The benefits of treatment of latent TB infection are greater in children than in adults for several reasons:
TB infection in children younger than five years is always recently acquired (i.e., within 5 years), and recent infections have a higher likelihood of progression to disease than infection acquired less recently;
Children have an increased risk of developing severe TB with sequela (e.g., meningitis and disseminated disease);
Children have more years at risk for the development of TB than adults; and children tolerate treatment for LTBI better than adults.
By keeping children healthy and allowing them to prosper and go to school, we’re helping families avoid the catastrophic cost of TB.
People Living with HIV
People being successfully treated for HIV are now dying from TB.
Over the past 40 years, an HIV diagnosis has gone from being the equivalent of a death sentence to becoming a chronic condition that we can prevent and treat. Yet, people living with HIV are now dying from TB in large numbers. People living with HIV are at high risk of latent TB, but their infection often goes unnoticed and untreated until it’s too late. TB is the leading cause of death among people living with HIV, causing one third of all HIV deaths – around 400,000.
People living with HIV are 20 to 30 times more likely to move from latent to active TB than those without HIV infection.