Babies and young children often have a weak immune system. Therefore they, especially those under 5 years of age, can easily get TB. TB in children is different from TB in adults. The symptoms can be very mild. A child can cough, feel slightly ill or the child’s growth slows down. He/she can, however, become seriously ill very quickly and the illness can be life threatening.
Take your child as soon as possible to a doctor if you suspect that he/she might have TB.TB in children can be cured with correct medication. It is important to find out from whom the child has got the disease, so that also that person can get treatment for TB and not spread the disease anymore.
If TB has been found in some of your family members or other close persons, it is important that all small children who have been nearby this person are tested quickly.
If a child has signs of TB infection without illness he/she can get lighter medication which prevents development of TB illness later on.
TB vaccination protects small children from the most serious forms of TB. The vaccination does not protect adults from TB.
In Finland the vaccination is given to children who are at risk of getting TB. In the asylum seekers’ reception centre it is assessed if your child needs a vaccination. A child who has been vaccinated is not revaccinated in Finland. A TB vaccination leaves a scar. From this scar one can see if a child has been vaccinated in the country of origin. If a vaccination scar is not found, a blood test is taken. Based on the results of the blood test the doctor decides if a vaccination is needed.
If your child is born in Finland he/she will receive TB vaccination at birth. You will get the information about this in maternity clinics.