Background: One of the rare presentations of active pulmonary or even extrapulmonary tuberculosis is polyarthropathy which is the involvement of multiple large and small joints in the body; a reactive constellation known as Poncet's disease. This may sometimes be the sole manifestation of the disease before more obvious features develop. The pain experienced during polyarthritis can be crippling thereby limiting the mobility and activities of patients. Polyarthritis as a symptom of active tuberculosis can be easily misinterpreted for more common causes of polyarthritis such as rheumatological diseases that present similarly. Case presentation: We describe the case of a 25-year-old Asian woman and a 45-year-old Asian man who presented with active tuberculosis where polyarthralgia was the first and only symptom for many months followed by pulmonary and pleural manifestations. Both patients showed dramatic improvement with anti-tuberculous therapy. The total duration of therapy was 6 months. Conclusions: Based on our observations, we propose that tuberculosis be included among the differentials for patients with unusual presentation of joint pains, especially in endemic regions and/or susceptible populations.
- Poncet's disease
- Tuberculous rheumatism