TB (Tuberculosis ) In Babies – 13 Symptoms & 5 Treatments

tb in babies

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Taking care of baby’s health is very much necessary as they are susceptible to infections. One such infection, that can risk infants, is tuberculosis (TB). It is a bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Want to know more? Here we bring you a closer look at TB in babies…

Tuberculosis In Babies:

Babies may acquire TB from the mother before or during birth either by breathing or swallowing infected amniotic fluid. They may also develop this infection after birth if they come in contact with infected droplets of air.

In some cases, other body organs such as the brain, bone marrow, kidneys, intestines, stomach and spine may also be affected by TB. Children below 2 years of age are particularly at risk of developing TB because of their weak immune system.

This disease has two forms:

  • Latent TB:If the baby is affected with latent TB but is not sick, his or her body is then capable of keeping the bacteria in check. The disease cannot spread in this case.
  • Active TB:This is characterized by night sweats, fevers and persistent coughs. Care should be taken if the baby is spitting blood with cough and/or if there is lack of energy. Treatment for TB is highly essential before it turns fatal.

[ Read: Asthma In Infants ]

TB Symptoms In Babies:

Latent TB is the first infection with tuberculosis bacteria that produces no symptoms.

  • In most of the cases, Tuberculin skin test is an indication that the infant has been infected.
  • Medication is necessary even if the infant shows no disease.
  • Infant takes around 6 to 10 weeks to develop a strong immune system, upon which the primary infection resolves.

In rare cases, it can spread to other organs and lungs. This gives rise to the following symptoms:

  1. Cough
  2. Loss of appetite
  3. Fatigue
  4. Loss of weight
  5. Fever

Reactivation tuberculosis is another kind of infection. The primary infection gets resolved here, but the bacteria remain dormant. In favorable conditions, the bacteria can become active again.

[ Read: Sinus Infection In Babies ]

The prominent symptoms of tb in babies include the following:

  1. Loss of weight
  2. Fatigue
  3. Sweating at night
  4. With progress of disease, cavities develop in the lungs and the following symptoms may be prominent:
  5. Phlegm that may have blood
  6. Mucus
  7. Saliva
  8. Coughing

[ Read: Whooping Cough In Babies ]

Treatment For TB In Infants:

Tuberculosis in infants can be treated with medications. Here are some drugs that doctors suggest:

  1. Streptomycin
  2. Pyrazinamide
  3. Isoniazid
  4. Ethambutol
  5. Rifampin

Or combination of some of the drugs is suggested at times as the baby might develop resistance to a single drug. Make sure she is taking her medicines on time. This will prevent further spread of the disease.

What You Can Do To Protect Your Baby From Getting Tuberculosis?

Preventing exposure is the best solution in this case. Here is what you can do:

  • You must keep your baby away from those suffering from chronic coughs.
  • You must test your baby for TB on a regular basis if she is travelling to the high risk areas or stays among people who may have been exposed to TB.
  • Taking medicines after an exposure can protect your baby from developing active TB.
  • BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guérin) is considered controversial, as it is not very effective in countries with fewer cases of TB.

[ Read: Home Remedies For Cold In Infants ]

Is TB Contagious?

TB is a contagious airborne disease and is easily transmitted. Babies are not considered contagious; they get infected from adults generally.

The period for incubation generally takes from weeks to years. This depends on the individual and if the infection is reactive, progressive or primary.

When You Should Call A Doctor?

In the following cases you should make sure you get in touch with a doctor:

  • In case, if your baby comes in contact with a person with TB.
  • If she sweats profusely at night.
  • Develops chronic and persistent cough.
  • Has persistent fever.

The treatments may take months to complete, but make sure you complete the course to cure the disease completely.

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