Incidence of extrapulmonary TB trending upward

Meninges was found to be the most common site of infection among EPTB patients.
Meninges was found to be the most common site of infection among EPTB patients.

Cases of extrapulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB) found to be following an upward trend in a new study.

Scientist said, death rate is almost 8 times higher than that of PTB.

An ordinary PTB infection could result to EPTB once the TB bacilli from the lungs spread and infect to other organs of the body thru the lymphatic system.

Dr. Regie Santos of the Ospital ng Makati discussed that despite optimistic reports of decreasing trend in PTB incidence, EPTB was shown to follow the opposite trajectory in a period of four and half years. Reported EPTB cases steeply increased from 1.39% on the first year of the study up to 5.14%. Of which, as much as 17% of the patients died. Fever, loss of appetite, and weight loss were found to be the most common signs and symptoms recorded. Whereas, other signs and symptoms that are distinctly PTB such as night sweats, weakness, and vomiting of blood were not frequently reported. Other symptoms recorded are those that are specific to which organs are affected.

Researcher cited delayed identification of symptoms as the main reason to the rising incidence and mortality rates among EPTB patients. He explained that the three most common symptoms listed in the study can be easily mistaken by physicians as that of PTB. Since EPTB arises from PTB, doctors may not suspect the spread of infection to the other organs. Furthermore, specific symptoms of the disease arising from the organs infected may be mistaken for other kinds of diseases.

To help bring down the cases, Dr Santos advised fellow doctors to add EPTB among the ailments to take into consideration during their differential diagnoses. He insisted that with early recognition, many lives could be saved.

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