1.2 Children and adolescents as a key vulnerable population

Children can present with TB disease at any age, but most commonly between the ages of 1 and 4 years in high TB burden settings. Children who develop TB disease usually do so within a year of TB infection. The presentation of TB in children is an indicator of recent and ongoing transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the community (4).

Infants and young children, especially those aged under 2 years, are at higher risk of developing disseminated disease and tuberculosis meningitis (TBM), which are associated with high morbidity and mortality (4). Adolescents with TB usually present with infectious TB disease, as typically seen in adults (e.g. with cavities on chest X-ray (CXR) and bacteriologically confirmed disease) (5). Adolescents also form a particularly vulnerable group who face important psychosocial challenges, requiring careful consideration of their growing autonomy, specific adherence support, and assistance with transitioning from paediatric to adult health service provision (5, 6).

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