Merck Manual

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Tuberculosis: A Disease of Many Organs

Tuberculosis: A Disease of Many Organs

Site of Infection

Symptoms or Complications

Abdominal cavity

Fatigue, swelling, slight tenderness, and appendicitis-like pain


Painful urination and blood in urine

Bones (mainly in children)

Swelling and minimal pain

Tissues covering the brain and spinal cord (meninges)

Fever, headache, nausea, drowsiness, confusion, a stiff neck, and, if untreated, coma

Pericardium (the two-layered membrane around the heart)

Fever, chest pain, enlarged neck veins, shortness of breath


Arthritis-like symptoms


Kidney damage with fever, back pain, and white blood cells (pus) and blood in the urine

Lymph nodes

Swollen lymph nodes, which may become inflamed and tender and drain pus

Reproductive organs in men

Lump in the scrotum

Reproductive organs in women

Chronic pelvic pain and sterility or a mislocated (ectopic) pregnancy


Worsening or constant back pain, collapsed vertebrae, and leg paralysis