Scrofula is a tuberculosis infection of the lymph nodes in the neck.
Tuberculous adenitis; Tuberculous cervical lymphadenitis; TB - scrofula
Scrofula is most often caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. There are many other types of mycobacterium bacteria that cause scrofula.
Scrofula is usually caused by breathing in air that is contaminated with mycobacterium bacteria. The bacteria then travel from the lungs to lymph nodes in the neck.
Symptoms of scrofula are:
When infection is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, treatment usually involves 9 to 12 months of antibiotics. Several antibiotics need to be used at once. Common antibiotics for scrofula include:
When infection is caused by another type of mycobacteria (which often occurs in children), treatment usually involves antibiotics such as:
Surgery is sometimes used first. It may also be done if the medicines are not working.
With treatment, people often make a complete recovery.
These complications may occur from this infection:
Call your health care provider if you or your child has a swelling or group of swellings in the neck. Scrofula can occur in children who have not been exposed to someone with tuberculosis.
People who have been exposed to someone with tuberculosis of the lungs should have a PPD test.
Pasternack MS, Swartz MN. Lymphadenitis and lymphangitis. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, Updated Edition. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 97.
Wenig BM. Non-neoplastic lesions of the neck. In: Wenig BM, ed. Atlas of Head and Neck Pathology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 12.
There are no recent clinical trials available for this condition. Please check back because new trials are being conducted frequently.