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Disseminated tuberculosis

  • Alternative Names

    Miliary tuberculosis; Tuberculosis - disseminated; Extrapulmonary tuberculosis


    The primary infection usually has no symptoms.

    Symptoms of disseminated tuberculosis include:

    • Cough
    • Fatigue
    • Fever
    • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise)
    • Shortness of breath
    • Sweating
    • Weight loss

    Other symptoms that can occur with this disease:

    • Abdominal swelling
    • Chills
    • Joint pain
    • Pale skin due to anemia (pallor)
    • Swollen glands

    Note: The symptoms will depend upon the affected areas of the body.

    Signs and tests

    A physical exam may show:

    • Swollen liver
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Swollen spleen

    Tests for TB include:

    • Biopsies and cultures of affected organs or tissues
    • Bronchoscopy for biopsy or culture
    • Chest x-ray
    • CT scan of the affected area
    • Fundoscopy may reveal retinal lesions
    • Lung biopsy
    • Mycobacterial culture of bone marrow or blood
    • Pleural biopsy
    • Sputum cultures
    • Tuberculin skin test

    This disease may also alter the results of the following tests:

    • Complete blood count (CBC)
    • Peripheral blood smear
    • Blood calcium level