Mycobacterial adenitis: role of Mycobacterium bovis, non-tuberculous mycobacteria, HIV infection, and risk factors in Arusha, Tanzania

  • SGM Mfinanga Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Norway N-5021 Bergen Norway, National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Muhimbili Station
  • O Morkve Centre for International Health,University of Bergen, Norway N-5021 Bergen Norway
  • RR Kazwala Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Box 3021 Morogoro, Tanzania
  • S Cleaveland Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG UK
  • MJ Sharp Moredun Research Institute, 408 Gilmerton Road Edinburgh EH17 7 JH, United Kingdom
  • J Kunda Moredun Research Institute, 408 Gilmerton Road, Edinburgh EHI 7 7JH, UK
  • R Nilsen Centre for International Health (CIH), University of Bergen, Norway N-5021 Bergen Norway, National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Muhimbili Station, Box 3436 Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania


Objective: To assess risk factors and mycobacterial agents in mycobacterial adenitis.

Design: Cross sectional involving comparison analysis of high-risk groups.

Setting: Seven hospitals in rural and semi-rural districts of Arusha.

Subjects: The study comprised of 457 patients of clinically diagnosed mycobacterial adenitis. Interventions: Biopsy materials were cultured and identification of mycobacterial isolates, and HIV infection testing were performed using standard methods. A questionnaire was used to establish information for assessing risk factors.

Main outcome measures: Proportions of mycobacterial isolates, risk factors and odds ratios.

Results: Of the 457 specimens, 65(14.2%) were culture positive. Isolates identified were M. bovis, 7(10.8%) M. tuberculosis, 27(41.5%) and non-tuberculous mycobacteria 31(47.7%). HIV infection and ingestion of raw milk were linked with increased risk of M. bovis infection by OR of 13.6 (95% CI, 1.7 - 109.9) and 15.28 (3.26 - 71.7), respectively. On multivariate analysis, an OR of 16.2 (1.3 - 201.3) for having M. bovis adenitis was linked to HIV infection, raw milk and houses with poor ventilation. An OR of 5.2 (1.2 - 20.6) for non-tuberculous mycobacterial adenitis was linked to history of TB in the family, HIV infection, raw milk, raw animal products and poor knowledge on transmission of tuberculosis.

Conclusions: M. bovis caused one out of ten cases of culture positive mycobacterial adenitis. Non-tuberculous mycobacteria were more common than M. tuberculosis (50% and 40% of the cases, respectively). HIV infection and raw animal products are among the risk factors identified for M. bovis and non-tuberculous mycobacterial adenitis.

East African Medical Journal Vol. 81 No. 4 April 2004: 171-178

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eISSN: 0012-835X