History of Tuberculosis

History of tuberculosis was started since 2000 BC.  Scientists have found tubercles in mummified bodies in Egypt. Babylonia and China also wrote about the existence of tuberculosis.

Where did the term of Tuberculosis come from? It came from the word of tubercula, means a small lump. It referred to the scars that displayed on the infected skins of patient. It was used for the first time at 1839.

Now, the incidence of tuberculosis in Europe and US is low. But, hundred years ago, in the 19th century, tuberculosis became a  pandemic in both area. It supported people to research for the treatment of this deathly disease.

history of tuberculosis

Gaspard Bayle was the researcher who found pulmonary lesion caused by tuberculosis in 900 autopsies. Then there was Edward Trudeau, the American physician who found that fresh air was related with the cure of tuberculosis. Edward was affected twice of tuberculosis in different years. He was so frustrated so he went to the mountain to spend his last days there. And you know the symptoms ameliorated. He took the conclusion that the fresh air was responsible for his better condition.

In 1885, he built the first sanatorium for tuberculosis which became a mode for hundreds of sanatoriums in America by 1930.  Recently, tuberculosis affect most poor people. But at first time, tuberculosis affected the artist and superior individuals.

In 1882, a german physician, Robert Koch found that germ that cause tuberculosis and discovered how the disease was transmitted.

Selman Waksman in 1944, was the first researcher discovered the antibiotic to fight against tuberculose. He isolated streptomycin from a fungus that can kill the tb bacteria. Streptomycin then became the primary treatment for eradicating tuberculose and so, the death rate of TB decreased. The change is very significant. In 1904, there were 188 deaths per 100000. About 80 years later, the deaths were only 1 per 100000.

In 1924,  BCG vaccine was discovered by Albert Calmette and Camille Guerin by using a virulent strain of bovine tubercles bacillus. It is highly efficient to prevent the disease until present.

Written by : dr. Amrizal Muchtar

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