History of Tuberculosis

The history of tuberculosis (TB) stretches back a long time and it has been a major killer for many years.

During the time of Hippocrates and much later also, tuberculosis was known as “phthisis”, a Greek term meaning “wasting away”.

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A note about History of Tuberculosis

In natural health and healing, we believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man's understanding. We also believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases.

In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. No matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem, these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of specific natural health remedies.

Tuberculosis in the early days was most likely a sporadic and unnoticed disease in humans. Epidemic spread came later with increasing population densities, as explained hereunder.

Prior to the age when humans became agriculturists, in the paleolithic period, when humans existed as hunters and gatherers, it is likely that TB may have occurred only sporadically. This is because the paleolithic man lived the life of a wanderer which did not require settling down in villages, nor did it require gathering in large groups. This was likely the reason why TB or any other infectious disease did not occur as epidemics in those days.

Once humans developed primitive agricultural methods which permitted early man to settle in permanent locations, and also with the domestication of cattle, it is estimated that around this time, the history of tuberculosis took a turn and TB made its presence felt more noticeably amongst humans. Even then, it still did not spread as an epidemic.

The first endemic occurrences of TB most likely occurred among animals. Mycobacterium bovis was the infecting organism that first created human infections.

Historians believe that, in the history of tuberculosis, TB first made its presence felt in Europe and was spread through the Europeans to their colony sites. Later, it reached the United States, Africa and other regions of South-east Asia, through voyagers and early settlers.

Global Trends Today in the History of Tuberculosis

The alarming fact is that TB remains one of the primary causes of death from infectious disease today in a number of industrialized countries, as it did from the very beginning.

Human beings tend to combat or fight against epidemics or infectious diseases in an episodic, discontinuous fashion. But the evolution of deadly pathogens like the tubercle bacillus is a continuous process. Hence, societies today need to invest in ongoing research and not slip into complacency in their battle against quickly mutating pathogens like this one, because failing to deal with TB in a scientific and effective way can result in a global endemic.

In today’s modern world of globalization and interdependence, where humans can travel to all parts of the globe freely and easily, global trading, and changing socio-cultural patterns, TB can be a real threat to people in any corner of the world.

All countries and its people are connected, and no one would be excluded, should a global epidemic spread. Hence, TB is a re-emergent global problem and must be tackled as such, by scientifically developing new tools at the molecular, immunological and epidemiological levels towards understanding and controlling TB, and protecting public health.

Without proper management, the history of tuberculosis could, once again, take a turn for the worse.

Factors that Lead to Re-emergence of Tuberculosis in Present Times

  • One of the main reasons for re-emergence of TB is due to the compromise of immunity in HIV patients. This leads to reactivation of earlier prevalent TB, or increased risk to new infection of TB.
  • Social dislocations when rural populations move to cities to find employment.
  • Overcrowding in cities.
  • Poverty and poor nutrition.
  • Lack of public health infrastructure.
  • Re-emergence of multi-drug resistant tubercle bacilli.

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    Some Related Tuberculosis Pages

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    Conventional Medicine Tuberculosis Treatment

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