Diagnostic practices and estimated burden of tuberculosis among children admitted to 13 government hospitals in Kenya: An analysis of two years' routine clinical data.
Oliwa JN., Gathara D., Ogero M., van Hensbroek MB., English M., Van't Hoog A., Clinical Information Network None.
BackgroundTrue burden of tuberculosis (TB) in children is unknown. Hospitalised children are low-hanging fruit for TB case detection as they are within the system. We aimed to explore the process of recognition and investigation for childhood TB using a guideline-linked cascade of care.MethodsThis was an observational study of 42,107 children admitted to 13 county hospitals in Kenya from 01Nov 15-31Oct 16, and 01Nov 17-31Oct 18. We estimated those that met each step of the cascade, those with an apparent (or "Working") TB diagnosis and modelled associations with TB tests amongst guideline-eligible children.Results23,741/42,107 (56.4%) met step 1 of the cascade (≥2 signs and symptoms suggestive of TB). Step 2(further screening of history of TB contact/full respiratory exam) was documented in 14,873/23,741 (62.6%) who met Step 1. Step 3(chest x-ray or Mantoux test) was requested in 2,451/14,873 (16.5%) who met Step 2. Step 4(≥1 bacteriological test) was requested in 392/2,451 (15.9%) who met Step 3. Step 5("Working TB" diagnosis) was documented in 175/392 (44.6%) who met Step 4. Factors associated with request of TB tests in patients who met Step 1 included: i) older children [AOR 1.19(CI 1.09-1.31)]; ii) co-morbidities of HIV, malnutrition or pneumonia [AOR 3.81(CI 3.05-4.75), 2.98(CI 2.69-3.31) and 2.98(CI 2.60-3.40) respectively]; iii) sicker children, readmitted/referred [AOR 1.24(CI 1.08-1.42) and 1.15(CI 1.04-1.28) respectively]. "Working TB" diagnosis was made in 2.9%(1,202/42,107) of all admissions and 0.2%(89/42,107) were bacteriologically-confirmed.ConclusionsMore than half of all paediatric admissions had symptoms associated with TB and nearly two-thirds had more specific history documented. Only a few amongst them got TB tests requested. TB was diagnosed in 2.9% of all admissions but most were inadequately investigated. Major challenges remain in identifying and investigating TB in children in hospitals with access to Xpert MTB/RIF and a review is needed of existing guidelines.