These two Ethiopian boys present with “back problems”. What are the diagnoses and what do you need to worry about with each of them?
The boy on the left has spinal tuberculosis (Pott's Disease) while the one on the right has severe scoliosis.
Spinal tuberculosis most commonly causes anterioposterior (AP) deformity and can cause severe neurologic deficits. Anti-TB medication is needed for treatment.
Severe scoliosis involves lateral as well as AP deformity and can cause severe pulmonary dysfunction.
University of Maryland Section of Global Emergency Health
Author: Andi Tenner, MD, MPH
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