DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cutaneous tuberculosis. Large ulcerated tuberculous lesion on the face of a young black woman. Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis and characterised by the formation of nodular lesions (tubercles) in the tissues. Primary infection almost always occurs in the lungs, from where it may spread to nearby lymph nodes. If left untreated, infection may enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing millions of tiny tubercles (milliary tuberculosis). Lesions affecting the bones, kidneys and skin are usually signs of advanced disease, occurring several years after the initial infection.
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