Intestinal tuberculosis

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Purpose of reviewIntestinal tuberculosis (TB) is increasing due partly to the HIV pandemic. Its clinical presentation mimics inflammatory conditions such as Crohn's disease and malignancies, which are becoming more prevalent, so the diagnosis is problematic.Recent findingsGreater awareness of intestinal TB is needed, both in countries where TB is endemic and developed countries with immigrant populations. Some strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis are associated with more extrapulmonary disease and greater dissemination, thereby exacerbating the rise in HIV-associated extrathoracic TB. Recent retrospective and prospective studies are leading to the development of diagnostic algorithms. A wide range of imaging techniques is available for sampling and diagnosis. New biochemical, immunological and molecular diagnostic methods are being developed but must be standardized and validated. Developments in drug delivery will facilitate oral therapy even in patients suffering from malabsorption.SummaryThere is an increasing consensus on the risk factors and clinical presentations of intestinal TB. Imaging techniques, coupled with fine needle biopsies, are useful aids to diagnosis, but most important is a greater awareness of the condition by clinicians.

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