Primary complex is a form of tuberculosis (TB) in kids. As with the regular TB variety, it is caused by the bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is often contracted via inhalation of the bacteria from a person with active TB.
The bacteria travel to the lungs but because of the child’s fast-acting immune system, the bacteria is quickly quarantined on the local site and at neighboring lymph nodes, creating a ‘walled-in’ complex. This is the reason why the child often remains healthy and does not exhibit the usual symptoms of TB because he/she does not have TB yet.
Symptoms of Primary Complex
More often than not, primary complex is missed because most patients do not exhibit any symptoms at all. It is often discovered only when other medical conditions are ruled out; symptoms also vary among patients.
For example, kids might experience sudden weight loss or loss of appetite for unexplained reasons. Differential diagnosis might be done to determine the root cause, leading to the possible diagnosis that the child might have primary complex.
Diagnosis of Primary Complex
Primary complex is readily diagnosed using the Mantoux test, popularly known as the tuberculin skin test.
The doctor or medtech will superficially inject a small amount of purified protein derivative (PPD) into the forearm. The size of the resulting bump will be checked; if it goes beyond a certain size, then the patient tested positive for TB infection.
However, this test is not 100% accurate in those with primary complex because 20% of patients could test negative to this test despite having the condition while a false positive can also be achieved in children who had been injected with the anti-TB vaccine, Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG).
Treatment for Primary Complex
Treatment for primary complex actually varies, depending on the child’s condition; however, it must be administered religiously once the child is diagnosed because skipping the medicines could actually cause the bacteria to evolve into the drug-resistant kind! And that could be quite dangerous!
There are plenty of medications available for primary complex and TB – and you can actually obtain the complete regimen from the health center but you can also opt to buy from the drugstore so the kids can enjoy better-tasting medicines.