BACKGROUD: Tuberculosis is a major cause of chilhood morbidity and mortality in Nigeria. Diagnosis of childhood tuberculosis is a global challenge making early treatment a mirage. In this study we investigated the stools of children for the presence of mycobacteria.
METHODS: Stool samples from children aged 3 days to 3 years who presented for postnatal immunization at a large University-based clinic in Nigeria, were subjected to Ziehl-Neelsen staining. Samples with acid-fast bacilli wer further processed using mycobacterial culture, spoligotyping, and deletion typing.
RESULTS: One hundred and ninety-two stool samples from different children were collected and processed. Thirty (15.6%) had acid-fast bacilli. Of these, eight had Mycobacterial tuberculosis and one had Mycobacterial africanum.
CONCLUSION: Approximetely 5% (9/192) of apparently well children had evidence of potentially serious tuberculosis infection. The usefullness of stool specimens for diagnosing pediatric tuberculosis warrants further investigation.