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Oral tuberculosis diagnosed from exfoliative cytology – two case reports

Kusumbati Besra, Pramod Chandra Pathy, Sagarika Samantaray, Niranjan Rout.


Oral lesions of tuberculosis though uncommon, are seen in both the primary and secondary stages of the disease. Primary oral tuberculosis is very rare and may present a diagnostic challenge for the clinician. This article presents two rare cases of oral tuberculosis manifesting as non-healing oral ulcers which were suspected to be squamous cell carcinoma on clinical examination. The cases were detected initially by exfoliative cytology of oral ulcer and subsequently confirmed by histopathological examination and Ziehl Neelsen (ZN) stain of the cytosmears. The patients underwent anti-tuberculosis therapy and the oral conditions improved rapidly. Although oral manifestations of tuberculosis are rare, it should be considered in the differential diagnosis of various types of oral ulcers with the non-healing tendency.

Key words: Oral tuberculosis, Exfoliative cytology, Histopathology, Z-N stain

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