What Is Skin Tuberculosis?

One of the many ways that this bacterial infection can harm your body is skin TB. It can still spread from person to person even though it is less infectious than some forms of tuberculosis.

Mycobacterium tuberculous, the organism that causes tuberculosis, can infect your skin, resulting in skin tuberculosis. The infection is extremely rare and is also known as cutaneous TB.

It may occur as a consequence of the tuberculosis bacteria coming into direct touch with your skin or as a result of the disease spreading to your skin through an open cut or wound.

Lesions, elevated nodules, sore ulcers, and skin discolouration are some of the symptoms of skin TB. However, these symptoms can be resolved by using antibiotics to treat the illness. To find out more about cutaneous tuberculosis's causes, signs, and available treatments, continue reading.

What causes skin tuberculosis?

Exposure to the tuberculosis bacteria results in skin tuberculosis. This typically occurs when you breathe in bacteria-infected droplets from someone else's exhaled TB.

When a person has tuberculosis, the germs can move from their lungs through their bloodstream or lymphatic system to other areas of their body, including their skin. Additionally, exposure to the germs through a skin opening—such as a cut, open wound, or needlestick—can result in cutaneous tuberculosis.

Some individuals are more susceptible to cutaneous TB. Among them are:
  • infants
  • children under the age of four
  • persons over 65 years of age
  • healthcare professionals who come into contact with tuberculosis patients
  • individuals from nations with high TB rates
  • individuals with compromised immune systems
  • those who are undernourished
  • those who administer medications intravenously (IV)
  • those who consume copious amounts of booze

Is skin TB contagious?

Most frequently, droplets are used to spread tuberculosis. This indicates that tuberculosis spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, or talks and other individuals breathe in the droplets. Repository illnesses like the flu or the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) frequently spread in this manner.

Skin TB is a distinct illness. Skin TB cannot be transferred by mere touch or even by being in the same room as another individual. However, direct contact with tuberculous bacteria on an open cut or wound might result in cutaneous tuberculosis. Thus, it is feasible to infect someone else with cutaneous TB.

Common symptoms of skin tuberculosis

The degree of the infection, your underlying health, and the affected part of your body all affect the symptoms of cutaneous TB.

For example, skin tuberculosis appears as glossy, rough, brown, or discoloured patches on your skin as it develops from an infection in your lungs. These little bumps eventually form huge clusters. We refer to this as lupus vulgaris.

Other forms of cutaneous TB can cause the following symptoms:

  • Tuberculosis chancre: Small pimples on your face, arms, and legs that eventually combine to form lesions of discoloured skin are the hallmarks of tuberculosis chancre. It has the potential to inflame your lymph nodes.
  • Erythema induratum of Bazin (EIB): EIB is characterised by dark lesions that develop on your legs and leave scars when they go away. Younger and middle-aged women are the main victims. EIB might recur if treatment is not received.
  • Tuberculous verrucosa: The skin accumulation known as plaque and thick, shiny lesions on your hands, fingers, and toes are signs of tuberculous verrucosa.
  • Scrofuloderma: The nodules of scrofuloderma are painless and enlarge until they explode. This results in discoloured growths and sores that may secrete pus. Very young toddlers and those with HIV are the groups most likely to experience it.
  • Papulonecrotic tuberculids: Papulonecrotic tuberculids cause big lesions on the buttocks, belly, ears, and face. Additionally, it results in symptoms like fever and low energy.
  • Idiopathic granulomatous mastitis (IGM): IGM causes excruciating, scarring sores on your breasts. Most cases of this kind of cutaneous TB are seen in nursing mothers.
  • Tuberculous orificialis: Large, excruciating ulcers that develop in your mouth, throat, genitalia, and around and within your anus are symptoms of tuberculous orificialis. Your uterine membrane and fallopian tubes may occasionally be impacted as well. Seniors are the main population affected by this severe type of skin TB.

Treatment options for skin tuberculosis

Antibiotics are used in conjunction to treat tuberculosis infections. The specific infection and symptoms you have may determine the best course of action. However, a course of four antibiotics will usually be used for about six months. For the first two months, your dosage will be at its highest.

You may occasionally require extra care if you have skin TB. This may involve surgery to remove any extremely large or uncomfortable growths, and it may be followed by surgery to restore the appearance of your skin. Topical medications may also be used to ease pain, irritation, or other symptoms.

Is skin TB dangerous?

The majority of cutaneous TB types are highly curable, and some even go away on their own. Some infections, however, are more serious.

Individuals with immune system disorders or those infected with antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacterium may find treatment more difficult. A medical expert can assist you in comprehending the elements influencing your prognosis.


When the tuberculosis-causing bacteria infect your skin, you can get skin tuberculosis, an uncommon kind of tuberculosis.

The exact infection, an individual's age, existing medical conditions, and the skin that is impacted can all affect the symptoms of skin tuberculosis. Common signs and symptoms include lesions, ulcer nodules, and discoloured skin.

The standard course of treatment for cutaneous TB is an antibiotic regimen lasting six months. There may be other therapies available to address skin issues.


Is skin TB spread?

When chronic tuberculosis (TB) travels from the lungs to the skin, it can spread by direct contact through cuts or wounds.

How do you diagnose skin TB?

A tiny amount of fluid (known as tuberculin) is injected under the skin on the lower arm to conduct the tuberculin skin test.

Can skin TB be cured?

Patients with cutaneous tuberculosis who are not immunocompromised have a decent prognosis.

Can TB cause itchy skin?

Some rashes, such as erythema nodosum, a red, lumpy rash on the legs, can be brought on by tuberculosis.

Post a Comment