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New childhood TB cases double earlier estimates

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esearchers from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS) have estimated that around 1 million children contract tuberculosis (TB) annually — twice the number previously thought to have the disease and three times the number of cases diagnosed every year. The researchers also estimated that around 32,000 children a year suffer from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). These findings were published today in The Lancet.

“Despite children comprising approximately one quarter of the world’s population, there have been no previous estimates of how many suffer from MDR-TB disease,” said Ted Cohen, HMS associate professor of medicine in BWH’s Division of Global Health Equity and co-senior author of this study.

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