Genitourinary tuberculosis: historical and basic science review: past and present

Thaddaeus Zajaczkowski
Central European Journal of Urology 2012, 65 (4): 182-7
Genitourinary tuberculosis (GUTB) usually results from the reactivation of old, dormant tuberculous diseases by pathogens of the mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. GUTB is the second most common form of extrapulmonary tuberculosis, with more than 90% of cases occurring in developing countries. In GUTB, the kidneys are the most common sites of infection and are infected through hematogenous spread of the bacilli, which then spread through the renal and urinary tract. Patients with genital and urethral TB present with a superficial tuberculous ulcer on the penis or in the female genital tract develop mainly due to primary contact with mycobacterium exposure during intercourse or inoculation via goods or chattels contaminated with mycobacterium. The diagnosis of TB of the urinary tract is based on the case history, the finding of pyuria in the absence of infection as judged by culture on routine media, and by radiological imaging. However, a positive yellow egg culture and/or histological analysis of biopsy specimens, possibly combined with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), is still required in most patients to establish a definitive diagnosis of GUTB. The standard antituberculous drug treatment should be administered initially for two months during the intensive phase with three or four drugs daily followed by dual continuation therapy for four months. Surgery as a treatment option in GUTB might be indicated in complicated urinary tuberculosis. After antituberculous treatment of GUTB, surveillance with regular follow-up visits over the next five years is recommended. In cases of drug resistance, additional drugs and prolonged treatment are required. Furthermore, increasing rates of drug-resistant cases and co-infection with HIV pose challenges in the treatment GUTB and other forms of TB.

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