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Can tuberculosis affecting the vertebra be cured?

Q: My husband (now 34 yrs) was diagnosed to be suffering from tuberculosis of T10 vertebra about 8 years ago. He had back pain and TB was detected after a CT-scan. He took tretament for 9 months and was fine. Recently he has been complaining of similar back pain and also nausea. My question is - does TB relapse; is it possible that the TB germs affect another location in the human body and how does one diagnose this?

A:Tuberculosis affecting the vertebral bones of the back is almost always cured by an adequate course of drug therapy, and any other sites that may also be infected will respond simultaneously. If full treatment was correctly and reliably completed, there is little chance of any residual disease remaining in the body. Although relapse is very rare, we would expect fever, sweats, weight loss and fatigue to be prominent complaints. A new CT, or better a PET scan of the back should reveal any recurrence, and a repeat after another 2-3 months would provide confirmation of activity if the symptoms continue to increase. It is possible that osteoarthritis secondary to vertebral damage is the cause of the pain, and a simple back x-ray could reveal this. There is no explanation for the nausea, and this should be evaluated as a distinct and separate problem.

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