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The science of classification of life forms.  Bacteria are divided into genera, e.g. Mycobacterium, which are then divided into various species, e.g. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium avium.


Strictly speaking this is the acronym for ‘Tubercle Bacillus’ but it commonly used as the shortened form of tuberculosis.

TB meningitis

Tuberculosis of the meninges, which cover the brain and spinal chord. Often fatal in children, and frequently associated with severe neurological damage in those who survive.


A weak anti-tuberculosis drug with the dubious advantage of cheapness but the distinct disadvantage of causing serious and sometimes fatal skin reactions, especially in HIV positive persons. The World Health Organisation recommend that it should never be used.


A major operation once used to collapse parts of the lung, thereby closing tuberculous cavities, by excision of segments of the chest wall.

Three I’s

Isoniazid preventive treatment (IPT), infection control (IC) and intensified case finding (ICF) are three priority public health actions to prevent and treat TB in people living with HIV.

Tine test

A technique for performing the tuberculin test by means of a single-use device with four prongs (tines) coated with dried tuberculin.


Windpipe. Tracheal – of the Trachea.


Small necrotic skin lesions, usually multiple, occasionally seen in patients with tuberculosis, especially in the tropics. They are thought to be hypersensitivity reactions to circulating tubercle bacilli, or fragments thereof, which lodge in the skin.


See Old Tuberculin.

Tuberculin reaction

The indurated swelling in the skin induced by injection of tuberculin.  A positive reaction may indicate active tuberculosis, past infection, past BCG vaccination or, in some cases, infection or disease due to environmental mycobacteria.

Tuberculin skin test

The skin test that elicits the tuberculin reaction.  The methods used today are the Mantoux, Heaf and tine tests.


A tuberculous lesion appearing as a tumour-like mass on radiology.


A chronic infectious disease caused by the closely related species Mycobacterium tuberculosis, M. bovis and M. africanum.

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