Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate the percentage and characteristics of extrapulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB) cases in a Turkish industrial city, Kocaeli (population: 1,203,335) and to illustrate its extent as a serious health problem for this city and country.
Methods: We investigated the results of microbiologic, radiologic, and histopathologic findings of patients with extrapulmonary tuberculosis, retrospectively, who were admitted to four Tuberculous Dispensaries between 1996 and 2000.
Results: Six hundred thirty six cases were diagnosed with EPTB. Three hundred forty five were males (54.2%) and 291, females (45.8%). Mean age of patient cases was 22.5+/-17.1 years (range, 1-86 years); 41.4% of cases were <15 years of age and 30.9%, between 20 and 39 years of age. Contact history with tuberculosis cases was determined in 242 cases (38%); of these, 194 were <15 years of age (80.2%). The most common form of EPTB was observed to be lymph node tuberculosis (56.3%); of these cases, 256 (71.5%) had involvement in intrathoracic, 92 (25.7%) in cervical, and 10 (2.8%) in axillary lymph nodes. The second most frequent extrapulmonary form was pleural tuberculosis (31.1%). EPTB was diagnosed by histopathologic methods in 229 patients (36.0%) and by microbiologic methods in 27 (4.2%); tuberculin skin test was significantly positive (>10 mm) in 95.5% of patients. When cases were classified according to severity, 87 cases (13.7%) were found severe and 549 (86.3%) as less severe EPTB. Five hundred sixty one cases (88.2%) lived in urban areas and 75 (11.8%), in rural areas.
Conclusions: EPTB is very common in early adulthood in the Kocaeli region, with lymph nodes the most common localization.