Someone in the world is infected with tuberculosis every second and someone dies from the disease every 15 seconds. Two new studies have discovered easier tests to detect this deadly disease in infants and children in poor countries.
Diagnosing tuberculosis is generally done with a gastric lavage. It's an invasive test that involves putting a tube down the throat to collect a sputum sample. Sputum is what comes up when you have a deep cough. Researchers conducted a study comparing the use of gastric lavage to a straightforward sputum test.
The two tests were given to 250 children ages 1 month to 5 years. The children were all suspected of having pulmonary tuberculosis. Researchers found the positive results with both tests were similar. However, the sputum test only needed to be done once and with a rapid diagnosis, treatment could start right away. Researchers say sputum induction should become the standard technique for diagnosing tuberculosis.
In another study researchers used a string test for diagnosis, were the child swallows a string. It's then removed from the upper gastrointestinal tract and a sputum sample is collected. The string helps the child bring up a better sample of sputum. Researchers found the string test helped to detect more cases of tuberculosis than did sputum induction alone.
Thus researchers say more straightforward diagnostic procedures are needed to help reverse the somber tuberculosis statistics.