Lege Artis Medicinae

[On pulmonary tuberculosis]

SCHWEIGER Ottó1

SEPTEMBER 25, 1991

Lege Artis Medicinae - 1991;1(15)

[The author evaluates the epidemiological conditions of pulmonary tuberculosis in Hungary. The number of new cases decreases year after year. Being the disease infectious afterall, efforts must be continued against it adapted to the new epidemiological situation. This requires the collaboration of all the medical network systems as the pulmonological one is inefficient itself. Though the disease is rare, it cannot be forgotten and in certain cases tuberculosis must be borne in mind as well.]

AFFILIATIONS

  1. egyetemi tanár Országos Korányi Tbc és Pulmonológiai Intézet

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Further articles in this publication

Lege Artis Medicinae

[The differential diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis]

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[Since the number of tuberculous patients is constantly decreasing, the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis is a new challenge for physicians. That produces a lifethreatening danger specially for old tuberculous patients. Primary infection – since the clinical tuber culosis of children practically disappeared in Hungary - can be established mostly on young people with general symptoms, who's tuberculin-reaction shows hyperergy. The specific etiology of pleurisy can be determined by the exclusion of other etiologies on young tuberculin-positive people, but a thoracoscopic biopsy may be needed. Tuberculous bronchadenitis is a rarity, but must be differentiated from sarcoidosis or malignant mediastinal lymph nodes. In infiltrative lung diseases, primary and se condary pneumonias (caused in first line by lung cancer) and pulmonary infarctions are much more frequent, than tbc. The most difficult is the differential diagnosis of disseminated pulmonary diseases. The author warns against the too early application of aggressive diagnostic methods (BAL and especially lung biopsy by thoracotomy). He emphasizes in these situations the advantages of an antituberculous treatment without diagnosis (especially in old patients). In coin lesions the very specific transthoracic needle biopsy should be preferated. The author refers to the new researches objecting the rapid detection of BK in the sputum of paucibacillary patients, but is meaning, that the indirect ways of diagnosis mentioned in this paper would be necessary for a long time.]

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[Nowadays tuberculosis has already become a rare disease in childhood in Hungary but the danger of the infection is still present for the several thousand (over 3500) disease manifestations among adults. The main task of the pediatricians is prevention, however the disease should be borne in mind in case of unelucidated chronic cases. In suspicion of meningitis basilaris it is necessary to start the treatment at once. Until now the maintanence of the BCG vaccination by age groups (new-born, 11 and 18 years) was justified, but it needs further restriction due to the advance in epidemic situation.]

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[360 cases of pulmonary mycobacteriosis caused by atypical mycobacteria were observed between 1980 and 1989. M. xenopi proved to be the most frequent pathogen (in 67% of the cases) followed by M. kansasii and M. avium intracellulare. The disease was common in urban-industrial areas. The yearly incidence of disease has not been increased during the observed period. 86% of patients were male with the mean age of 55 years. Underlying diseases such as pulmonary tuberculosis and chronic obstructive lung disease were found frequently. The symptoms of the disease were uncharacteristic. Thin-wall cavities with the lack of an infiltrate appeared in 24% of the patients. Malignancy and pulmonary aspergillosis were the two more frequent concomitant diseases. The occurence of lung cancer and also other organ cancers were significant higher among these patients than in the normal population between 40–69 years of age. Findings of histopathology were indistinguishable from tuberculosis among M. kansasii cases. A relative lack of caseousiting necrosis, forced fibrosis, foreign body reaction and abortive granuloma formation appeared among M. xenopi and M. avium-intracellulare cases. ]

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[Tuberculosis is still a serious and wide-spread disease affecting mainly people living under poor hygienic conditions. Double infections with HIV + M. tuberculosis, however, may worsen the epidemiological situation both in developing and highly developed countries. Since its introduction, BCG vaccine has undergone several changes regarding the production strain and other characteristics. Though, the effectivity of BCG vaccination has been often questioned, it is indisputable that the vaccine protects young children against the disease. In Hungary, lyophilised „Paris" BCG strain has been safely and successfully used for vaccinating new-borns and revaccinating children for 30 years. The tbc incidence of the population under 14 years of age has been very low. Due to the relatively high tbc incidence among adults and the unfavourable tendency in the epidemiology of tbc in the world, however, no changes in the present BCG vaccination schedule are advisable. Moreover revaccination regardless to the tuberculin status should be considered. ]

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