Today, on World Children’s Day, we welcome the updated guidance published by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the management of tuberculosis (TB) in children and adolescents, which includes a recommendation on the use of stool as the primary sample for diagnosing childhood TB.
The recently published 2021 Global Tuberculosis Report indicates that 11% of TB patients are children below the age of 15. TB is usually diagnosed using sputum or nasopharyngeal aspirates (nasal wash), which can be challenging and painful to obtain from children, hampering timely and accurate diagnosis of TB in children. Stool, in contrast, is a non-invasive sample that can be provided easily and painlessly by any child. Having that in mind, KNCV developed a Simple-One-Step (SOS) Stool Method that allows the use of stool instead of sputum for diagnosis of TB.
KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation was engaged by the Foundation for Innovative Diagnostics (FIND Home – FIND (finddx.org)) and the TB-Speed consortium (Strengthening Paediatric TB services for Enhanced Early Detection) to participate in head to head comparisons. In this study, three stool processing methods were evaluated, including the SOS stool method developed by KNCV. We are happy to say that all methods were perceived as easy to perform, however, the SOS Stool method does not require additional equipment. Results from the head to head studies are used as evidence for the updated guidance for the management of TB in children and adolescents. This provides guidance to countries for the implementation of stool testing, improving access for children to an accurate diagnosis of TB and timely, appropriate treatment.