Health experts at a media training on Tuberculosis (TB) said that unexplained consistent weight loss in children could be as a result of TB.
According to them, other signs and symptoms suggestive of TB in children include failure to thrive or gain weight, persistent fever and cough of two weeks, and close contact with anyone with TB.
The training was organised by the Institute of Human Virology (IHVN) in collaboration with Breakthrough Action-Nigeria (BA-N).
Dr Babajide Kadiri, Lagos State Team Lead USAID IHVN TB LON 3 Project, spoke on the sidelines of the training.
According to him, children who are at risk of contacting TB include those living with adults with TB, those who are HIV positive and children who are malnourished.
On the challenges associated with control of childhood TB, he said: “ There is low childhood TB awareness among the general population.
“Also, poor health-seeking behavior, stigma and discrimination, limited media engagement in TB awareness creation, low index of suspicion for child TB by healthcare providers and low funding for childhood TB control.”
He proffered that regular sensitisation of the general population on TB in children and collaboration with the media would help in TB prevention, control and management.
Also speaking, Dr Joseph Edor, Senior Programme Officer II TB/RCCE USAID Breakthrough Action-Nigeria, said that tuberculosis was an airborne disease, more common in men than women in Nigeria.
He said that TB of the lungs ( Pulmonary TB), caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M tuberculosis), is the most common type.
Edor said that TB could occur anywhere in the body noting that four symptoms used to screen patients included cough ( of two weeks duration or more), fever, night sweats and unexplained weight loss.
He said that an untreated case could infect an average of 10 to15 people in a year, noting that only 25 per cent of Nigerians had correct information about TB.
He said that the diagnosis for TB was mainly the sputum test for pulmonary TB, Chest X-ray and Stool test in children.
Edor said that TB treatment included oral medications for a minimum of six months.
However, he said drug resistant TB ((MDR TB) could occur when TB treatment was not well adhered to and could also occur when someone was infected directly by someone with (MDR TB).