oa Central African Journal of Medicine - A survey of the forms of tuberculosis encountered at Harare Hospital, Rhodesia, 1967-1969

Volume 19, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



We established in this study that tuberculosis of the lungs, lymph nodes -and ,the miliary form are the commonest types of the disease seen at Harare Hospital, accounting for 69,2 per cent. of the total proven cases. Pulmonary tuberculosis was sometimes diagnosed by X-ray where proof was lacking. Ten per cent. of the cases were found to be associated with tuberculous lymphadenitis. Tuberculosis of the lymph nodes was the form most easily diagnosed, because the lymph nodes are so readily biopsied. The lung, liver, spleen and lymph nodes were the organs most frequently involved in acute miliary tuberculosis. It was found to be most common in the 0-4 years age group, but more cases were seen in adults than in children under 15 years of age. Tuberculosis of the bone and joints was often diagnosed, but few cases were proven. Tuberculosis of the vertebrae was most frequently seen. Tuberculous disease of the pericardium and pleura were not rare, but the definitive diagnosis was difficult. Diagnosis was often established by the presence of the disease in a lymph node or some other organ. The diagnosis of a pulmonary lesion is not infrequently established after biopsy of an enlarged lymph node. It was found difficult to establish the diagnosis in tuberculosis of the peritoneum. Tuberculosis of the gastrointestinal tract was not uncommon even though bovine tuberculosis appears to be rare. It therefore seems as if the human bacillus is responsible for most cases in Rhodesia. Tuberculosis of the suprarenal glands, skin and the genito-urinary tract is found rarely as compared with Europe. Unusual sites for the disease included the breast and abscesses in the pelvis. The disease was seen in all ages with two major peaks in infants and young adults but it was most uncommon in the elderly. Tuberculosis in children was fairly common, again showing a predominance for 'Pulmonary tuberculosis, tuberculous lymphadenitis and miliary tuberculosis. Kwashiorkor in children was seen on several occasions in conjunction with tuberculosis.

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