Author(s): KB Sriram, D Moffatt, R Stapledon
Background Tuberculosis of the breast is an uncommon disease with non-specific clinical, radiological and histological findings. Misdiagnosis is common as biopsy specimens are pauci-bacillary and investigations such as microscopy and culture are frequently negative. Case presentation We report a case of a breast abscess in a 34-year old Bangladeshi woman attributed to tuberculosis infection. Equivocal histology, negative Ziehl-Neelsen stain and culture for acid-fast bacilli resulted in the abscess initially being diagnosed as granulomatous mastitis and treated accordingly. However failure to respond to therapy raised suspicion of culture negative breast tuberculosis. Treatment with standard antituberculosis drugs was associated with complete resolution of the breast abscess. Conclusion This case highlights the difficulty in differentiating culture negative tuberculosis from granulomatous mastitis and the importance of a high index of clinical suspicion.