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Tuberculosis in old age 

Tuberculosis in old age
Tuberculosis in old age
Oxford Textbook of Geriatric Medicine (3 edn)

Aparajit Ballav Dey

and Ramesh Kandel


Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is a common cause of death in the developing world among older persons. HIV/AIDS pandemic has led to rise in TB cases, development of drug resistance, and higher incidence of extrapulmonary disease. TB in old age can result from acquisition of new infection or reactivation of latent infection and progression to disease due to immunosenescence. It is a multisystem infection affecting virtually every organ system in the body, though pulmonary TB is the commonest manifestation. TB presents atypically in old age. The gold standard for diagnosis is isolation of the infective organism in culture, which is often difficult to achieve. The diagnostic strategies have improved with newer techniques based on nucleic acid amplification. Older patients have a higher risk of adverse drug reaction and poor treatment outcome. Control of TB requires efficiency in early detection and completion of treatment.

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