Tuberculosis (TB), also called “white plaque” or “consumption” is a higly communicable disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It usually involves the lungs, but also occurs in the kidneys, bones, adrenal glands, lymph nodes, and meninges, and can be disseminated throughout ht e body. When TB involves the lungs, it can be referred to as either TB infection or TB disease. TB infection occurs when the Myobacterium tuberculosis enters the body, multiples, and the body’s immune system contains it (the usual response). TB disease occurs when the infection progresses to disease and the patint becomes clinically ill (active TB).
Diagnosis in TB is commonly delayed in older adults because the typical presenting symptoms such as fever and night sweats aren’t commonly seen. With age, diaphoresis decreases and alterations in body temperature commonly occur. These factors highlight the importance of periodic screening for older adults. All older patients entering hospital and any community of older people, such as those in senior center, should be tested with two-step Mantoux test.