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The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 66-B, Issue 3 | Pages 326 - 330
1 May 1984
Davies P Humphries M Byfield S Nunn A Darbyshire J Citron K Fox W

Of the 4172 patients in a survey of all cases of tuberculosis notified in a six-month period in England and Wales in 1978-79, 198 had a bone or joint lesion; 79 were white and 108 were of Indian subcontinent (Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi) ethnic origin. The estimated annual notification rates for orthopaedic tuberculosis were 29 per 100 000 for the Indian subcontinent group and 0.34 per 100 000 in the white group, a ratio of 85 to 1. Rates increased with age in both groups. The spine was the most common site, and was affected in 30% of the white patients and 43% of the Indian subcontinent patients; the distribution of other sites was similar in both groups. Positive culture from a bone or joint lesion was obtained in 99 (50%) of the 198 patients (58% of white patients and 47% of the Indian subcontinent patients). Bacteriological or histological confirmation of tuberculosis either from a bone or joint lesion or from another site was obtained in 68% of the patients. Mycobacterium tuberculosis was isolated from the orthopaedic lesions in 79 of the 82 patients with identification test results and M. bovis in the 3 remaining patients. Of the 61 patients with M. tuberculosis and with no history of previous chemotherapy, 5 had resistant strains compared with 1 of the 18 patients who had previously received chemotherapy. All 6 patients with resistant strains were of Indian subcontinent ethnic origin.