Childhood Diseases

Posted by: Jane | 2009/06/19



Please advise Doc! My domestic' s daughter (age 3) recently passed away- hospital said it was undiagnosed TB, but the poor child was DOA so I don' t know if they ever actually tested for TB or not. I have since heard stories that some govt hospitals say it' s TB when in fact it' s actually HIV / AIDS related. My domestic' s daughter didn' t live with her, but we' ve been told that the child didn' t cough at all. Having done some research, I see that children CAN have TB and no symptoms....

My maid is not coughing at all, so I presume she doesn' t have it, and i know she' s healthy (HIV neg too), because she goes for regular check ups etc.

I' m having a small panic worrying about my daughter (age 4).... she never had any contact with the deceased little girl but I' m still in shock that this other seemingly healthy little girl just died like that. Apparently she had a cold for a few weeks that just wouldn' t go away, then died.

Do I need to have my daughter tested for TB?? She' s not sick or coughing, but I just feel so nervous that the TB shows no signs.... I really don' t have ANY money right now and the medical aid is depleted. I called Dischem and they said to test for TB you' d need to go to hospital to do a sputum test.

I don' t know what to do... I feel I' m probably just being paranoid and there' s no way my daughter has TB....

Please could you put my mind at rest ???


Expert's Reply



Your daughter is very unlikely to have TB. She has been immunised against TB at birth with the BCG. Although not completely protective againsts TB it is reasonably effective. Your domestic worker appears to be well and is HIV negative. She is unlikely to have TB. It is also unlikely that her daughter had TB. She may have had some other illness such as pneumonia.
You do not need a sputum test to diagnose TB. Usually a skin test called the Mantoux is done which is not expensive and can be done at your nearest health clinic.It does not appear necessary for your daughter to have this test done.

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