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The extreme wasting seen in people with advanced tuberculosis.


The search for people with tuberculosis, usually by microscopical examination of sputum of ‘suspects’ with a cough of over three weeks duration.


See Caseous necrosis (below).
Caseous necrosis

The characteristic central area of tissue necrosis seen in tuberculous lesions, most evident in post-primary lesions.  The term caseous necrosis or caseation is in allusion to the cheese-like nature of this necrotic material.

Cavity, pulmonary

A necrotic tuberculous lesion which communicates with the airways, enabling tubercle bacilli to enter the sputum and to be coughed out.

Cerebrospinal fluid

The fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

The prescription of anti-microbial agents to prevent those at risk of an infection from developing the disease.


Treatment of disease (not just cancer) by chemicals.  This includes treatment of tuberculosis by various anti-bacterial drugs.

Choroidal Tubercles

Tuberculous granulomas seen on the retina of the eye and characteristic of miliary tuberculosis.

Combination Treatment Therapy

The combination of two or more anti-tuberculosis agents in a single tablet. This avoids the possibility of patients taking a single agent which can give rise to antibiotic resistance.

Congenital tuberculosis

Tuberculosis acquired by the baby while in the uterus. An uncommon but serious form of tuberculosis.

An old term for tuberculosis, in allusion to the wasting seen in advanced disease.

Contact tracing

The search for persons infected by a patient with open or infectious tuberculosis, principally in the patient’s household.

Contagion parameter

The number of people infected by a single infectious patient.

Anti-inflammatory hormones prescribed in some cases of tuberculosis, notably tuberculous meningitis and tuberculous pericarditis, to prevent constrictive scarring.

Cotrimoxazole preventative therapy

Patients coinfected with TB and HIV are at a high risk of death not only because of TB but because of increased susceptibility to other infections, such as pneumonia. Cotrimoxazole has been shown to reduce mortality in HIV and TB coinfected adults, most likely because of its effects against bacterial infections and malaria.

Crohn’s disease

A chronic inflammatory disease of the human intestine, thought by some to be caused by the same mycobacterium that causes Johne’s disease in cattle, although confirmation is required.

Cryptic disseminated tuberculosis

Widespread tuberculosis occurring in those with suppressed immune function, such as those with AIDS.  The tissues contain numerous microscopic lesions teeming with tubercle bacilli. In contrast to the lesions of miliary tuberculosis these are not easily seen on radiology, hence the term cryptic.


See Cerebrospinal fluid.

The process whereby bacteriological specimens are grown in an incubator. In the case of tuberculosis this can take weeks.


Examination of the urinary tract with a cystoscope – An instrument that allows the doctor to see inside the bladder and remove tissue samples or small tumours.


From the Greek words meaning ‘cell energisers’, these are molecules released during immune responses that ‘direct’ the various cells involved in these responses.  Examples include gamma interferon and tumour necrosis factor.

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