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GPs warned to consider TB in pregnancy

TB may present differently in pregnancy and should be considered in ethnic minority women

OnMedica Staff

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

GPs should be aware that tuberculosis (TB) may present differently in pregnant women, UK researchers have warned.

They found that deaths from TB in pregnancy are increasing and that cases seem to exclusively occur in women from ethnic minorities and almost exclusively in those born overseas.

A total of 33 cases of TB during pregnancy diagnosed between August 2005 and August 2006 were identified using the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS). The results published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology showed that all occurred in non-white women and the majority were born outside the UK.

Dr Marian Knight, senior clinical research fellow and honorary consultant in public health at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford, said that while screening for TB during pregnancy is recommended it is not undertaken routinely and that this may contribute to a delay in diagnosis in pregnant women.

"Both women and their doctors and midwives should be aware that the symptoms of TB in pregnancy may be different, and consider the diagnosis, especially in recently arrived immigrant women, presenting with non-specific symptoms," she said.

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