Septic shock and multi-organ failure in HIV infection-‘sepsis tuberculosa gravissima’

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A profoundly immunosuppressed HIV-infected man developed sepsis syndrome with multi-organ failure. A septic screen failed to identify a bacterial or fungal cause and despite empirical treatment for these pathogens the patient remained unwell. Investigations revealed disseminated tuberculosis. With specific anti-tuberculosis therapy the patient rapidly recovered. Although most cases of sepsis syndrome in HIV-infected patients are due to bacteria, tuberculosis should be added to the differential diagnosis of this presentation.

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