Timely diagnosis is vital to ensure treatment of extra pulmonary TB, says...

Timely diagnosis is vital to ensure treatment of extra pulmonary TB, says experts

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Nairobi, KENYA: Medical doctors in Kenya are required to have a high index of suspicion in order to effectively diagnose extra pulmonary Tuberculosis.

Deputy Chief of Party of TB ARC, Dr. Lorraine Mugambi-Nyaboga advised, in order to detect this type of TB which is not well known, and difficult to diagnose if proper measures are not taken.

“When a patient presents to a health practitioner with particular symptoms, especially symptoms of any type of TB, the practitioner should also suspect TB outside the lungs (extra pulmonary TB) because it can present like many other diseases.” Said Dr. Mugambi.

Speaking to Baraka FM on Thursday, Dr. Mugambi said that there is no need to have superiror tests to diagnose this type of TB.

“First, you need to suspect that there is a possibility the patient could have TB outside the lungs. Take a sample of any tissue of the affected body part and take it to the laboratory for tests,”  said Dr. Mugambi-Nyaboga

Dr. Hussein Kerow from MSF (Doctors Without Borders) advised that a doctor should be keen on the symptoms and the patient’s history, which could inform the possibility of this type of TB, which affects other organs outside the lungs.

“This can affect the skin, spine, brain, bones, liver, and the heart, any body organ except the nails and hair can be affected by TB,” Dr. Kerrow cautioned.

“Extra pulmonary may be difficult to detect early because the disease may masquerade as other diseases. When someone’s abdomen aches for many months for example, most healthcare workers will think about and investigate for other diseases, such as cancer first,” Dr. Mugambi-Nyaboga advised.

Dr. Mugambi-Nyaboga added that after inhaling the bacteria responsible for TB, if  one’s immunity is low, the bacteria may multiply, enter the blood system and spread to the whole body through the blood stream.

”  Extra-pulmonary TB occurs when the bacteria responsible for TB lodges into a particular part of the body starts multiplying and manifests with signs and symptoms,” she continued.

Survivor’s story

“I started experiencing back problems and could not walk properly. I was treated for many problems and I was even checked if I had ovarian cysts. It took about 8 months for the doctor to figure what I was suffering from,” narrated Rose Kaberia, a survivor of extra pulmonary TB.

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