Exposure to pulmonary tuberculosis in a neonatal unit: Diagnostic and therapeutic decisions

Cristina Molera, Alicia Mirada, Roser Font, Montse Olmo, Lidia Canales, Antonio Mur, José Angel De Marcos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background:. Neonates have an increased risk to suffer severe tuberculosis due to their immunosuppressed condition. Objective:. To assess the incidence of tuberculosis infection or latent disease in a cohort of newborns exposed to a healthcare worker of the neonatal unit, diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis disease, as well as describe diagnostic and treatment strategies. Method:. Tuberculin skin test (TST) and chest X-rays were performed at the initial screening. Chest computed tomography (CT) and QuantiFERON®-TB Gold test were performed on cases where chest X-ray was not clear. Once all diagnostic tests were negative, infants were treated with isoniazid up to 6 months of age. At this age, a second TST was performed. Results:. 60 newborns were exposed. TST were negative at baseline and at 6 months. One infant had an abnormal chest X-ray, with normal findings on CT and QuantiFERON®-TB Gold test. 88.6% neonates started with prophylaxis, it was contraindicated in 3% and was refused by the parents in 8%. Isoniazid was withdrawn due to side effects in only 1 infant. Prophylaxis was completed by 78% of patients. At 12 months, no cases of tuberculosis were reported. Conclusions:. The tuberculous infection incidence in hospitalized neonates exposed is low but, due to the potential severity, prophylaxis with isoniazid until 6 months and an early screening with TST and chest X-ray is a valid strategy to minimized risks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-162
JournalPediatria Catalana
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015


  • Chemoprevention
  • Contact investigation
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Newborn
  • Tuberculin test


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