Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but they can also damage other parts of the body. TB spreads through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks. If you have been exposed, you should go to your doctor for tests. You are more likely to get TB if you have a weak immune system.



Lymph nodes: Lymph nodes that drain the lungs may become large enough to compress the bronchial tubes, causing a cough and possibly a collapsed lung.2 If bacteria spread to lymph nodes in the neck, it is possible for the nodes to break through the skin and discharge pus.

Kidneys: TB infection of the kidneys may cause fever, back pain, and sometimes blood in the urine.3 Infection commonly spreads to the bladder, causing painful and frequent urination.

Brain: Tuberculosis that infects the brain, called tuberculous meningitis, is life-threatening. In the United States and other developed countries, tuberculous meningitis most commonly occurs among older people or people with a weakened immune system. Symptoms include fever, constant headache, neck stiffness, nausea, and drowsiness that can lead to coma.4

Pericardium: In tuberculous pericarditis, the pericardium thickens and sometimes leaks fluid into the space between the pericardium and the heart. This can weaken the heart, causing swollen neck veins and difficulty breathing.

Genitals: Tuberculosis can also spread to the genitals. In men, genital tuberculosis causes the scrotum to enlarge. In women, it causes pelvic pain and menstrual irregularities and increases the risk of an ectopic pregnancy.

References :

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  • Wilson, M. “Recent Advances in the Laboratory Detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex and Drug resistance”. Clinical Infectious Disease. vol. 52. 2011. pp. 1350-1355.

  • Peto, HM, Pratt, RH, Harrington, TA. “Epidemiology of extrapulmonary tuberculosis in the United States, 1993-2006”. CID. vol. 49. 2009. pp. 1350-1357.

  • Marais, S, Thwaites, G, Schowman, JF. “Tuberculous meningitis: a uniform case definition for use in clinical research”. The Lancet. vol. 10. 2010. pp. 803-812.

  • Jain, SK, Kwon, P, Moss, WJ. “Management and outcomes of intracranial tuberculomas developing during antituberculous therapy: case report and review”. Clin Pediatr (Phila). vol. 44. 2005. pp. 443-50.

  • Curless, R, Mitchell, C. “Central nervous system tuberculosis in children”. Pediatric Neurology. vol. 7. 1991. pp. 270-274.

  • Saukonnen, JJ, Cohn, DL, Jasmer, RM. “An official ATS statement: hepatotoxicity of antituberculosis therapy”. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. vol. 174. 2006. pp. 935-952.

  • Forget, EJ, Menzies, D. “Adverse reactions to first line antituberculosis drugs”. Expert Opin. Drug Safe. vol. 5. 2006. pp. 231-252.

  • Be, NA, Kim, KS, Bishai, WR, Jain, SK. “Pathogenesis of central nervous system tuberculosis”. Curr Mol Med. vol. 9. 2009. pp. 94-9.