What is it?

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria. Miliary tuberculosis refers to a condition in which the tuberculosis infection is characterized by a wide dissemination in the body and a very small sized lesion. It can affect not only the lungs but different organs such as the liver and the spleen. Typically, miliary tuberculosis affects children under 4 years old, immunocompromised people and older people.

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Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of miliary TB may be hard to identify because they are not specific. They may include fever, chills, weight loss, enlarged lymph nodes, weakness, difficulty breathing,
coughing, enlarged spleen or liver, and adrenal insufficiency


Diagnosis is made by identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in culture or by identification of its DNA. Tuberculin skin test or the Mantoux test can detect an infection, as well as interferon-gamma release assay that can quantify its response to the antigens. Samples may be taken from the blood, cerebrospinal fluid, urine, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid,joint fluid or bone marrow. Other diagnosis tools may include chest X-ray that may show innumerable small spots, and CT or an MRA to detect other organs affected,


Miliary TB is treated like regular pulmonary TB- with 4 drugs (rifampin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol) for 6 months. Sometimes, a longer treatment may be required either because of coinfection with HIV or kidney abscess. For multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) infection, the treatment is with fluoroquinolones, aminoglycosides, and other drugs for 18 to 24 months. Corticosteroids may help if the pericardium or meninges are affected. Surgery may be needed for the disease complications.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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