Extra-pulmonary TB

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Overview:

Nearly one in five TB patients has Extra-pulmonary TB and most of them go undiagnosed, and the few who are diagnosed cannot benefit from care unless they visit a few specialist health facilities.

About Extra-pulmonary TB: 

  • It refers to Tuberculosis infections affecting organs other than the lung (namely lymph nodes, brain, gut, eyes, or other organs).
  • It is often stain negative, which means it is not detectable on regular TB stain tests.
  • The infection may surface in any part of the body and present itself like other non-TB conditions. Many cases of EPTB may not have a corresponding lung infection.
  • It can affect any organ and is more prevalent in people living with HIV.
  • Issues with EPTB
    • A troubling aspect of EPTB infection is the prolonged presence of disease markers even after the infection is resolved with treatment.
    • Diagnosis and treatment protocols for all organs affected by EPTB do not exist.
    • The twin challenges in tackling EPTB are lack of awareness, even among physicians, and lack of accurate diagnostic and treatment criteria.
    • Some EPTB patients who complete anti-TB therapy may still find themselves affected by the disease.
    • INDEX-TB guidelines were formulated over a decade ago and need to be updated with the latest data and experience.

Q1: What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria is responsible for TB.

Source: The challenge of extra-pulmonary TB