Miliary tuberculosis is a form of tuberculosis that is characterized by a wide dissemination into the human body and by the tiny size of the lesions (1–5 mm). Its name comes from a distinctive pattern seen on a chest radiograph of many tiny spots distributed throughout the lung fields with the appearance similar to millet seeds, thus the term "miliary" tuberculosis. Miliary TB may infect any number of organs, including the lungs, liver, and spleen. Miliary tuberculosis is present in about 2% of all reported cases of tuberculosis and accounts for up to 20% of all extra-pulmonary tuberculosis cases.
Miliary tuberculosis is a potentially life-threatening type of tuberculosis that occurs when a large number of the bacteria travel through the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. is a contagious infection caused by the airborne bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
The symptoms of miliary TB are very general. They can include:
If other organs besides your lungs are infected, these organs may stop working properly. This can cause other symptoms, such as low levels of red blood cells if your bone marrow is affected or a characteristic rash if your skin is involved.
Diagnosis of miliary tuberculosis is similar to the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis. Samples of infected fluids may be examined under a microscope and/or sent to a laboratory to be grown (cultured) and tested. Samples may be:
Mycobacterium tuberculosis can sometimes be identified by doing nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) on certain types of samples.
Note 1: Confirm the recurrence of active infection by culture, histopathology, or other diagnostic laboratory testing.
Note 2: Rate under the appropriate body system any residual disability of infection which includes, but is not limited to, skin conditions and conditions of the respiratory, central nervous, musculoskeletal, ocular, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary systems and those residuals listed in §4.88c.
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