Muhammad Usman.
Presenting symptoms of Tuberculosis.
J Med Sci Jan ;13(2):117-21.

Background: Tuberculosis is a leading cause of morbidity in developing countries where 95% of TB cases occur, eighty percent (80%) of these cases involve persons who are in their productive years (15-59). TB causes more than 25% of avoidable adult deaths in the developing world. The loss of these patients from work force and the frequency with which they infect their contacts are factors of great socioeconomic concern. Research Methodology: To find out the presenting symptoms of tuberculosis in our setup, this descriptive study was carried out in the Department of Medicine, Khyber Teaching Hospital Peshawar, from December 1997 to December 2000. One hundred newly diagnosed admitted cases of TB were studied for the presenting symptoms. These were divided into 50 pulmonary and 50 extrapulmonary forms. The diagnosis of TB was based on smear and/or culture positivity for mycobacterium TB and response to antituberculous therapy. The approach towards diagnosis was different in each form of TB. Known tuberculous patients, those with malignancy, chronic illnesses and HIV positive were excluded. Follow up upto 5 months was done in each case. Results: The most common generalised symptoms in both pulmonary and extrapulmonary forms of TB were fever, loss of appetite, weight loss and night sweats. The commonest presentation of pulmonary TB was cough. Swelling in the neck was the commonest symptom of lymphatic TB. Low grade fever and headache were commonest presentations of pleural and CNS TB respectively. Conclusion: Fever was a common general symptom in most forms of TB followed by weight and appetite loss, bodyaches and night sweats. Tuberculosis should always be considered in the differential diagnosis of a young patient presenting with unexplained low grade fever and weight loss.

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