(Health) You wouldn't think that a swollen pinky finger should warrant much worry. But for one woman in California, it turned out to be a sign of a rare manifestation of tuberculosis, according to a new report on the case, published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The 42-year-old went to the hospital after her finger had been swollen and painful for a week, though she had not injured it at all.
Doctors performed an X-ray and CT scan and found swelling in the soft tissue of her finger, but no issues with her bones. Only after doing a biopsy did they find Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes tuberculosis.
The report states the woman had lupus and was being treated with medications to suppress her immune system, which made her more susceptible to this infectious disease. After investigating, doctors concluded that her husband had contracted tuberculosis during a recent trip to China and passed it on to her unknowingly through a cough.
That means the woman's husband had active tuberculosis bacteria in his system. The bacteria can also be present in an inactive form and remain in your system without making you, or anyone else, sick for years. Regardless, treatment is crucial to prevent the disease from manifesting, according to Mayo Clinic. Though it's not common in the U.S. anymore thanks to antibiotics, tuberculosis is a leading killer worldwide. Read more from Health