During the last two decades, the resurgence of tuberculosis (TB) has been documented in both developed and developing nations, and much of this increase in TB burden coincided with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemics. Since then, the disease pattern has changed with a higher incidence of extrapulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB) as well as disseminated TB. EPTB cases include TB lymphadenitis, pleural TB, TB meningitis, osteoarticular TB, genitourinary TB, abdominal TB, cutaneous TB, ocular TB, TB pericarditis and breast TB, although any organ can be involved. Diagnosis of EPTB can be baffling, compelling a high index of suspicion owing to paucibacillary load in the biological specimens. A negative smear for acid-fast bacilli, lack of granulomas on histopathology and failure to culture Mycobacterium tuberculosis do not exclude the diagnosis of EPTB. Novel diagnostic modalities such as nucleic acid amplification (NAA) can be useful in varied forms of EPTB. This review is primarily focused on the diagnosis of several clinical forms of EPTB by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using different gene targets.
© 2012 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.