What Is Potts Disease?


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Julii Brainard answered
It's degeneration of the spine caused by the tuberculosis bacterium. It usually starts with a seemingly minor infection outside the spine, which lets the TB bacteria invade the spinal column.

The condition is very rare in the UK, but quite common in the developing world, especially India, China, Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is on the increase in the former USSR and in sub-Saharan Africa.

Males are more affected than women. Other risk factors are endemic tuberculosis, poor nutritional status, HIV infection and poor social conditions.

The disease typically manifests with back pain, fever, night sweats and weight loss. These often indicate a serious bacterial bone infection. The bone infection is accompanied by a range of horrible symptoms, including high pain, high fever and vomitting.

Even if the infection can be treated successfully, arthritis in the back usually results for life. Permanent curvature and weakness of the spine may also feature.

Treatment involves immobilisation of the back (to aid healing) and antibiotics.

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