A Study of Cutaneous Tuberculosis in Children


Address correspondence to V. Ramesh, M.D., Sector 12/1082, R. K. Puram, New Delhi 110 022, India.


Abstract: Sixty-three children out of a total of 199 patients seen with cutaneous tuberculosis during a 7-year period were included in this study. Culture was positive in only four, and the diagnosis was based on clinical examination, tuberculin reaction, histopathology, and response to antitubercular therapy. Forty had lupus vulgaris (LV) and 23 scrofuloderma (SD). The lower half of the body was predominantly affected in those with LV, and keratotic and hypertrophic forms were frequently encountered. LV planus mainly affected the face. Ulcerative and atrophic types of LV were infrequent. Extensive lesions in three children led to disfiguring scars and contractures. Scrofuloderma often involved the cervical group of lymph nodes followed by the inguinal, submandibular, and axillary groups. As compared to skin tuberculosis in adults, regional lymph node involvement in LV was more common, and a combination of both LV and SD was less frequent in children. No difference in clinical presentation could be detected between the BCG vaccinated and unvaccinated children. Tuberculous infection either in the lungs or the bones was present in eight children. An HIV test done in five patients with widespread lesions was negative. Irregular therapy or late diagnosis leading to serious complications, inadequate parental or community support, and lack of awareness among practitioners are the problems to be remedied.