Link to article at PubMed

2022 Jan 5. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–.


Tuberculosis (TB) is an ancient human disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis which mainly affects the lungs, making pulmonary disease the most common presentation (K Zaman, 2010) . However, TB is a multi-systemic disease with a protean presentation. The organ system most commonly affected includes the respiratory system, the gastrointestinal (GI) system, the lymphoreticular system, the skin, the central nervous system, the musculoskeletal system, the reproductive system, and the liver .

Evidence of TB has been reported in human remains dated thousands of years (Hershkovitz et al., 2017, K Zaman 2010). For a human pathogen with no known environmental reservoir, Mycobacterium tuberculosis has honed the art of survival and has persisted in human communities from antiquity through modern time.

In the past few decades, there has been a concerted global effort to eradicate TB. These efforts had yielded some positive dividends especially since 2000 when the World Health Organization (WHO, 2017) estimated that the global incidence rate for tuberculosis has fallen by 1.5% every year. Furthermore, mortality arising from tuberculosis has significantly and steadily declined. The World Health Organization (WHO, 2016) reports a 22% drop in global TB mortality from 2000 through 2015.

Despite the gains in tuberculosis control and the decline in both new cases and mortality, TB still accounts for a huge burden of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The bulk of the global burden of new infection and tuberculosis death is borne by developing countries with 6 countries, India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan, and South Africa, accounting for 60% of TB death in 2015, (WHO, 2017) .

Tuberculosis remains a significant cause of both illness and death in developed countries especially among individuals with a suppressed immune system. People with HIV are particularly vulnerable to death due to tuberculosis. Tuberculosis accounted for 35% of global mortality in individuals with HIV/AIDS in 2015. (W.H.O, 2017). Children are also vulnerable, and tuberculosis was responsible for one million illnesses in children in 2015 according to the WHO.

PMID:28722945 | Bookshelf:NBK441916

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