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Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis

05/19/2009

Question:

Is it possible to have tuberculosis in the brain without any fever (6:00am to 8:00am 36.1-36.5C correspondingly) for a period of 3-4 months? Test shows antibodies, but there isn`t possibility now a real test for bacteria presence to be done. Nothing in the lungs (X-ray), no cough. There isn`t viral infection at the moment.

Answer:

Tuberculosis of the brain can occur in a number of ways. There can be a mass in the brain called a tuberculoma. It is certainly possible to have this disease without having a fever. Tuberculosis can also cause meningitis. It would be somewhat unusual to have this form of tuberculosis without fever. There are tests that can be performed on the fluid surrounding the brain which is obtained through a spinal tap. However, these tests are not perfect and can miss the tuberculosis. In general we rely on the pictures/x-rays of the brain and other laboratory tests to determine if tuberculosis of the brain is present.

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Response by:

Catherine A Curley, MD, MS Catherine A Curley, MD, MS
Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University