Tuberculosis has still an important impact on public health because it is an important cause of death, particularly in developing countries. On the other hand recent studies have shown that tuberculosis is again becoming concentrated in big cities of Western Europe, especially among immigrants, drug addicts, poor people, and the homeless, despite progress in reducing national rates of the disease. Diagnostic imaging is challenging for radiologists because signs of tuberculosis may easily mimic other diseases such as neoplasms or sarcoidosis. Clinical signs and symptoms in affected adults can be non-specific and a high level of pre-test clinical suspicion based on history is fundamental in the diagnostic work-up. Impact of tuberculosis in the world is extremely important considering the high incidence estimated during 2011 that was 8.7 million cases. This article gives a review of imaging patterns of chest tuberculosis as may be detected on conventional radiography and computerized tomography (CT). The main aim is to improve radiologist's familiarity with the spectrum of imaging features of this disease and facilitate timely diagnosis. Furthermore, we consider the emerging role of alternative methods of imaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), that can be helpful and highly accurate for a better definition of some signs of tuberculosis.
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