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EXTRA-PULMONARY TB



  May 15, 2024

EXTRA-PULMONARY TB


Tuberculosis (TB) primarily affects the lungs (pulmonary TB), but about 20% of cases are extra-pulmonary TB (EPTB), affecting other parts of the body. Here’s an overview of the key points regarding EPTB, its challenges, and potential solutions.

What is Extra-Pulmonary TB (EPTB)?

EPTB is TB that occurs outside the lungs. It can infect various organs like the lymph nodes, brain, gut, eyes, and more. These infections can persist even after pulmonary TB is resolved due to the immune privilege of some organs.

1. Examples:

- Lymph Node TB: Swollen, painful lymph nodes.

- Brain TB (TB meningitis): Severe headaches, fever, and neurological symptoms.

- Ocular TB: Inflammation and vision problems.

Why is EPTB Difficult to Diagnose and Treat?

1. Stain-Negative Infections: EPTB often does not show up in regular TB tests, making it harder to detect.

- Example: Ocular TB may be mistaken for other eye conditions because it doesn’t show up in standard TB tests.

2. Mimics Other Diseases: EPTB can resemble other non-TB conditions, leading to misdiagnosis.

- Example: TB in the gut may be confused with Crohn’s disease or other gastrointestinal issues.

3. Lack of Awareness and Protocols: Many doctors are not aware of the association between TB and various organs, and there are no formal protocols for managing EPTB.

- Example: An eye specialist might not consider TB as a cause of persistent eye inflammation.

Current Efforts and Challenges

1. Focus on Pulmonary TB: Efforts are largely directed at eliminating pulmonary TB due to its higher prevalence and potential to spread infection.

- Example: National TB programs often prioritize lung TB, leaving EPTB under-addressed.

2. Data Gaps: Incomplete data from specialist departments hinders a comprehensive understanding of EPTB prevalence.

- Example: Data from ophthalmology or neurology departments might not be integrated into national TB statistics.

3. Treatment Difficulties: Prolonged anti-TB therapy may not resolve EPTB due to lingering disease markers or autoimmune responses.

- Example: Persistent inflammation in the eyes despite completing TB treatment.

Steps to Improve EPTB Management

1. Awareness and Training: Increasing awareness among healthcare providers about EPTB and its symptoms.

- Example: Conducting workshops and training sessions for doctors across specialties to recognize EPTB symptoms.

2. Better Data Collection: Capturing and integrating data from all relevant departments into national TB databases.

- Example: Specialist departments should report EPTB cases to the National TB Control Programme to improve data accuracy.

3. Updated Guidelines: Revising and expanding guidelines like INDEX-TB to reflect the latest research and multidisciplinary input.

- Example: Including recommendations for managing EPTB in various organs based on recent clinical trials.

4. Research and Innovation: Investing in research to understand EPTB mechanisms and develop targeted treatments.

- Example: Using advanced techniques like single-cell RNA sequencing to study immune responses in EPTB.

5. Comprehensive Treatment Plans: Developing protocols for the diagnosis and treatment of EPTB in all affected organs.

- Example: Creating multidisciplinary teams to manage EPTB cases and ensure coordinated care.

Conclusion

EPTB poses a significant challenge due to its complexity and under-diagnosis. Addressing it requires a concerted effort from healthcare providers, researchers, and policymakers to improve awareness, diagnosis, treatment, and data collection. By bringing EPTB out of the shadows, we can better manage this critical aspect of TB and improve outcomes for affected individuals.


SRIRAM’s



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