1) Thoughts, observations, questions about readings from one of the course books (panic virus/
mountains beyond mountains/ghost map). How does the reading tie into class material?
I want to start off by saying that I really enjoy reading this book. I usually dread reading novels, so
it’s amazing how I love this one! Farmer’s attempt to eradicate multidrug resistant Tuberculosis
(MDR TB) in Peru can be looked at through two different perspectives. Looking at it through
Farmer’s eyes: he just wants to help the citizens of Carabayllo, Peru. Farmer and his crew know
that the World Health Organization’s treatment plans have not been as effective as Peru claims.
The WHO calls for retreatment with the same first line antibiotics if a patient’s TB has not gone
away the first time. Farmer knows that retreatment of patients will only make the disease more
resistant to antibiotics and this may be why he has found many cases of MDR TB in Carabayllo.
Looking at it with a political perspective, the government of Peru does not want Farmer to interrupt
the WHO treatments regimes. Peru has invested so much money on this program to treat TB and
letting Farmer treat individuals who have MDR TB would be admitting that most of their money has
gone to waste and that the program did not actually work. From a political point of view, accepting
failure in the treatment program would cause a loss of trust and faith in Peruvian government; no
political leader enjoys that. I would definitely take Farmer’s side; the Peruvian government is
harming their citizens because they are unwilling to accept the flaws in their TB treatment!
Individuals who are infected with TB usually don’t produce the symptoms (carrier state). In order to
for Mycobacterium tuberculosis to enter the body it must pass the innate immune system and
the first one would be the cilia, mucus that is lining the throat and nose. When the bacteria pass
through the mucus and cilia, the immune system still attempts to get rid of it via antimicrobial
proteins, phagocytes and the complement cascade. At the same time, the innate and adaptive
immune system are communicating at the lymphoid tissue so that specific memory and plasma
cells can be created to destroy this bacteria. When the immune system can keep the bacteria at a
small number, TB does not show symptoms (latent TB). When the immune sys