Dr. Jennifer Gray
April 15, 2008
Tuberculosis (TB) is an acute infectious disease. It is found primarily in the lungs, but is also seen in any tissue of the body. This disease has infected more than one third of the world’s population. Most cases are seen in African and European countries. Tuberculosis has killed more people than any other disease in history. Robert Koch was the person who discovered the causative agent and a test to help to diagnosis tuberculosis. Diagnosis of the disease requires a skin test and chest x-ray, followed by a three positive sputum sample. After receiving a positive from all the tests, antibiotics are started and continued for six to twelve months. It is important to follow the regiment, ordered by the doctor to prevent from becoming resistance to antibiotics.
Tuberculosis also known as the “White Plaque,” is an infectious disease that can be chronic or acute (1). This disease has infected more than one-third of the world’s population. New infections can occur as frequently as one transmission per second. Everyone that is exposed does not always develop an active case of TB. A chance to have a latent infection that is very common. In ten percent of patients, a latent case can progress into active TB later in life. If left untreated, Tuberculosis can kill more than half of its victims (2). Tuberculosis has killed more humans than any other illness in history. More than one-half of all infections have occurred internationally. China, Southeast Asia, Indian, and Europe, constitutes for a large number of cases, with the highest percent seen in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the past twenty-five years and with the development of HIV, the world has had a steady rise in cases of Tuberculosis. The United States has had a decrease in cases over the past fifteen years. With vaccinations, screening, prevention, and education given to the high-risk groups, it will continue to help with the decrease in the number of cases seen. High-risk groups involved foreign born, inmates, health care professionals, long term patients, the homeless, medically underserved low income, drug and alcohol abusers, racial and ethnic minorities and patients with HIV(3).
Tuberculosis has been seen as far back as the time of Hippocrates as phthisis a Greek word meaning “wasting away.” Scrofula is a rare form of TB found in the lymph nodes, usually found in children. It was spread through unpasteurized milk from infected cows. It was thought that the cure was from the power of the divine king. Gibbous deformity another rare TB manifestation was found in spines of mummies. This lead to serious spine deformity and paralysis. In the 1680’s TB was called “tubercula” known as small knots, but was not diagnosed at that time. In 1722 a British Doctor Benjamin Marten suggested that TB was transmitted from a sick person’s breath and inhaled by another and then the person became ill. In 1689, an English Doctor Richard Morton named TB as “consumption.” In the 1820’s, TB was identified as a single disease. This disease was affecting many of Europe’s higher social, intellectual and artists by the nineteenth century. This disease was glorified and thought it was a beautiful person’s disease. The typical symptoms were a thin, pale face. This Era of TB was caught in art (1). J.L. Schonlein named it in 1839. Hermann Brehmer opened the first sanatorium in 1859 in Germany. Robert Koch identified mycobacterium tuberculosis in March 24, 1882. In 1890, Koch invented what he thought to be a cure that was ineffective, later used as a prescreening test for TB. In 1906, Albert Calmette and Camille Guerin developed a vaccine by attenuating bovine-strain tuberculosis (BCG). After the disease was established contagious, there were posters and...
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