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CHRONIC ENLARGEMENT OF CERVICAL LYMPH NODES ASSOCIATED WITH TUBERCULOSIS AND RELATED CONDITIONS Introduction

It was common for tuberculosis to affect lymph glands in the neck prior to pasteurisation of milk and tuberculin testing of dairy cattle herds. This was because the organism Mycobacterium bovis was endemic in many cattle in the earlier part of the century, and it tended to cause primary infection in the tonsils and the lymphatic tissues of the throat with involvement of the glands in the neck secondarily. Surgical removal of such lymph nodes was not an uncommon procedure in the 1930s and 40s. Since establishment of the preventative measures described above, tuberculosis of the neck arising from the swallowing of contaminated milk is now an extreme rarity in the Western world. However, primary tuberculosis of the neck glands caused by the principal organism of tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) occurs with increasing frequency, and it is particularly common in poorer communities and in the Asian community at the present time.