The records of 74 patients diagnosed as suffering from tuberculous (TB) bone or joint disease between 1969 and 1979 were analysed retrospectively. Most were resident in the Greater Manchester County. Thirty-eight patients were first-generation immigrants, and teenage males were particularly prominent in this group. In the indigenous patients the diagnosis was often delayed several months or years, and in a number of subjects there was a history of previous bone and joint tuberculosis. There was a wide range of affected sites, especially in the immigrant group, and evidence of nonarticular TB was found in only a minority of patients. Diagnosis is most satisfactorily based on open biopsy and submission of pathological material to culture and histology. British subjects were more likely to have to undergo remedial surgery for the disease, especially when weight bearing joints were involved. Antituberculous chemotherapy should be given for at least 1 year to prevent recurrence of the disease.
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