Tuberculosis is a common infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacterium. Tuberculosis typically attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people who have active TB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit their saliva through the air. If left untreated kills more than 50% of those so infected. The classic symptoms of active TB infection are a chronic cough with blood-tinged sputum, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. Infection of other organs causes a wide range of symptoms. Tuberculosis has been present in Americans from about the year 100 AD, it was said to involve fever and coughing up of blood. Before the Industrial Revolution, often associated tuberculosis with vampires. Also when one member of a family dies from it, the other infected members would lose their health slowly. People believed this was caused by the original person with TB draining the life other family members. Tuberculosis caused the most widespread public concern in the 19th and 20th centuries as an endemic disease of the urban poor. In 1815, one in four deaths in England was due to consumption. By 1918, one in six deaths in France was still caused by TB. In 1946, the development of the antibiotic streptomycin made effective treatment and cure of TB a reality. Prior to the introduction of this drug, the only treatment was surgical intervention, which involved collapsing an infected lung to rest it and allow tuberculosis lesions to heal. Current surgical interventions involve removal of pathological chest cavities in the lungs to reduce the number of bacteria and to increase the exposure of the remaining bacteria to drugs in the bloodstream, thereby simultaneously reducing the total bacterial load and increasing the effectiveness of systemic antibiotic therapy. Hopes of completely eliminating TB were dashed after the rise of drug-resistant strains in the 1980s. A number of factors make people more...
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