[Primary infection and pulmonary tuberculosis]

Rev Pneumol Clin. 2015 Apr-Jun;71(2-3):73-82. doi: 10.1016/j.pneumo.2015.02.001. Epub 2015 Mar 5.
[Article in French]


Tuberculosis is a major public health problem worldwide. Indeed, a third of the world population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and more than 8 million new cases of tuberculosis each year. Pulmonary tuberculosis is the most common location. Its diagnosis is difficult and often established with a delay causing a spread of infection. The diagnosis of tuberculosis infection is mainly based on immunological tests represented by the tuberculin skin test and detection of gamma interferon, while the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis is suspected on epidemiological context, lasting general and respiratory symptoms, contrasting usually with normal lung examination, and a chest radiography showing suggestive lesions. The radioclinical feature may be atypical in patients with extreme ages and in case of immunodeficiency. Confirmation of tuberculosis is bacteriological. Conventional bacteriological methods remain the reference. Innovative tests using the technique of molecular biology have improved the diagnosis of tuberculosis in terms of sensitivity and especially speed. However, those techniques are of limited use.

Keywords: Diagnosis; Diagnostic; Interferon gamma; Interféron gamma; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Primary infection; Primoinfection; Test cutané tuberculinique; Tuberculin skin test; Tuberculose; Tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Delayed Diagnosis
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Interferon-gamma Release Tests* / methods
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis* / isolation & purification
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberculin Test* / methods
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / epidemiology*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / microbiology


  • Antitubercular Agents