Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : From May 1970 to September 1983, 1714 children with different forms of primary tuberculosis were referred to the paediatric home care centre (Enfants soignés au Foyer, E.S.F.) of the Brussels University Hospital St.-Pierre. They were subdivided in five groups: asymptomatic (33%), symptomatic (28%), dubious tuberculous infections (35%), high-risk contacts (3%) and unestablished diagnosis (1%). They were aged from 10 days to 19 years, and 82% of them were migrants of low socio-economic level. Fifty percent of the symptomatic infections, mainly pulmonary, appeared in children under 3 years of age. An adult source of contamination was identified in 33% of the cases (48% of the symptomatic children). Diagnosis was based on tuberculin screening with a 2IU intradermal test. Gastric aspirates yielded Mycobacterium tuberculosis in 15% of our patients, 11% of them showing resistance to one or more tuberculostatic drugs. Treatment was given to 1359 patients with excellent results. Therapy was shortened during the last 2 years of the study from 12 to 6 months for the asymptomatic patients and from 12 to 9 months for the symptomatic infections. Few complications were observed. Tuberculosis remains a serious cause of morbidity particularly in migrant children. Correct diagnosis and treatment of the disease is very important.