Background: The increases in extra-pulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB) have been largely due to human immunodeficiency virus co-infection. The rates of EPTB have remained constant despite the decline in pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) cases.
Objective: To evaluate covariates associated with EPTB.
Methods: A 4-year cohort of EPTB patients was compared with PTB cases. Enrollees were assessed for TB risk, medical records were reviewed, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates were fingerprinted.
Results: We identified 538 EPTB cases (28.6%) in a total of 1878 enrollees. The most common sites of infection were lymph nodes (43%) and pleura (23%). EPTB cases included 320 (59%) males, 382 (71%) patients were culture-positive, and 332 (86.9%) patient isolates were fingerprinted. Fewer EPTB than PTB patients belonged to clustered M. tuberculosis strains (58% vs. 65%; P = 0.02). A multivariate model identified an increased risk for EPTB among African Americans (OR = 1.9, P = 0.01), HIV-seropositive (OR = 3.1, P < 0.01), liver cirrhosis (OR = 2.3, P = 0.02), and age <18 years (OR = 2.0, P = 0.04). Patients with concomitant pulmonary and extra-pulmonary infections were more likely to die within 6 months of TB diagnosis (OR = 2.3, P < 0.01).
Conclusions: African American ethnicity is an independent risk factor for EPTB. Mortality at 6 months is partly due to the dissemination of M. tuberculosis and the severity of the underlying co-morbidity.