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Can tuberculosis recur?

Friday, 13 May 2011
Answered by: Dr Sai Praveen Haranath
Specialist in Pulmonary and Critical Care MedicineKaiser Permanente Medical Center/The Permanente Medical GroupWalnut Creek, CA 94596
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Q. I am a 26 years old male weighing 70 kg. I had suffered from tuberculosis a year back. I got the symptoms of sputum with blood but did not take them seriously as I was very healthy at that time. Later, I had loss of weight and fever. I was diagnosed to be suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis and took medicines for 6 months. Is there any possibility that I might develop TB again in future? I heard tuberculosis affects only aged people. Is it true? Will pulmonary tuberculosis affect the sperm count?

A.  Tuberculosis can affect any age group and stress decreases the immune system response to fight infection. TB can recur if there is incomplete treatment or if there is resistant tuberculosis organisms causing infection. Also being re-exposed can cause the disease. Infection of the male genital tract can occur and affect the sperm count and this will also need treatment by experts. The physical stress you had caused a decrease in your immune response and this just made the infection easier to affect you and it is likely that you would have had the infection even if you were not undergoing stress. You should discuss these concerns with your doctor if you are having continued symptoms or problems with the genital system.

A.  Tuberculosis can affect any age group and stress decreases the immune system response to fight infection. TB can recur if there is incomplete treatment or if there is resistant tuberculosis organisms causing infection. Also being re-exposed can cause the disease. Infection of the male genital tract can occur and affect the sperm count and this will also need treatment by experts. The physical stress you had caused a decrease in your immune response and this just made the infection easier to affect you and it is likely that you would have had the infection even if you were not undergoing stress. You should discuss these concerns with your doctor if you are having continued symptoms or problems with the genital system.

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