Pregnant women and their infants are a vulnerable but neglected population in tuberculosis (TB) control efforts. Recent advances in TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment have implications for their care, despite their frequent exclusion from research. We have conducted a meta-review of current evidence and clinical guidelines for TB prevention, diagnosis and management in pregnant women and neonates, focusing on review articles published since 2010. The actual burden of TB in pregnancy is unmeasured, but has been estimated at 216,500 cases per year. Although the effect of pregnancy on TB risk is uncertain and controversial, two large whole-of-population studies found that pregnancy was associated with a two- to three-fold increase in risk of TB. Congenital TB is rare but extremely serious. Neonates exposed to TB after delivery will be at high risk of disease, and preventive therapy is recommended once disease has been ruled out. At present, there is limited evidence regarding the performance of different screening strategies for pregnant women, appropriate drug dosing for either pregnant women or neonates, and the safety of most second-line drugs in pregnancy. High quality evidence on these topics is needed, as are detailed guidelines to inform efforts by TB control programs and clinicians working with pregnant women and their infants.
Link to publisher’s web site