Plagues and people lecture 5.docx

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17 Mar 2012
PG : 276- 283
TB Present in human population since antiquity
Evidence of TB in Egyptian mummies in 2400 BC
Term tuberculosis was not used earlier on
“Phthsis” or “consumption”- used at the peak of the disease in London, England Homer 800 BC
Phtsis- as described by Hippocrates, is the form of TB known as pulmonary TB
460 BC Hippocrates; disease was due to evil air but did not consider it contagious
Aristotle (384-322 BC) suggested that TB may be due to “bad and heavy breath”
Deformities in the spine
Pulmonary form of tuberculosis , selector , loubous (skin), enlargements in the lymph nodes
called schofula
TB was documented in Egypt, India, and China as early as 5000, 3000, and 2300 years ago
Typical skeletal abnormalities
TB was limited to animals in prehistoric times (8000-4000 BC) due to domestication of animals
the disease was able to spread to humans more quickly
TB spread to the middle east, Greece and India through nomadic tribes through animals via
contaminated milk , the origins or method of transmission is unknown
TB epidemics likely form changes in the host population and the environment (host,
environment, agent) tuberculosis pathogen has believed to have existed from long ago
The changes in the host population and the environment was believed to be responsible for the
spread of TB
TB pathogen is believed to have existed from long ago, and it became more epidemic in humans
, due to the changes in the environment which perpetuated the virulence
Risk factors related to the host population
Claims of royal supernatural powers during the Middle Ages (AD 500-1500)
During the middle ages, monarchies started to form ,and they existed , their were claims of royal
supernatural powers claimed to be healing people from tuberculosis , the type of TB that they
were claiming to heal people from was the lymph type of TB (the scrofula)
This was called the Kings evil or royal touching. They lined up the people who had TB or scrofula
and a touching ceremony was performed to help heal the patients
We now know that TB can become dormant for a while, hence these ceremonies where the king
or queen touched the patient, made signs of the cross and gave them a gold coin was believed
to cure them form TB
Queen Anne of England was believed to be responsible for helping prevent TB- the royal touch
was a ceremony to cure people from TB
(1546) -Fracastorious describes Modern Theory of Contagion
o TB “phtisis” was caused by an invisible germ in the lungs, can be transmitted from one
person to another
1629 Consumption leading cause of death in London, raised Europe, many people were sick, it
was thought that 100 percent of the population was due to tuberculosis
Approximately 20 % of all death was due to tuberculosis
1679- D. Sylvius discovers the lung nodules that are now known as tubercules
o The lung nodules indicated the presence of tuberculosis
1720- Benjamin Marten speculates that TB may be communicable from one individual to
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In the 18th century many people were trying to work to figure out the causes of. TB
19th century- TB spread to the rest of Europe and by 1900 it reached North America
Tuberculosis was related to residential crowding, environmental conditions, so there wasn’t a
great of TB in comparison to others.
1839- the term “tuberculosis” was first used.
Mid 19th century , writings of tuberculosis were romanticized, and people who had TB were seen
as romantic, erotic, sexual people
Mid-19th century- TB was romanticized
The symptoms of TB were welcomed and favoured by society, not feared, what was seen by
leprosy was not seen in TB. These included: extreme thinness, pale skin, teary eyes, were all
things that people liked
People with TB were romanticized: pale skin, thinness, shiny eyes, and were welcomed
A lot of opera productions “La Traviata” (1853) , “La Boheme” (1895) where the heroist had TB
Classical movie “Camille” (1936) – was based on Alexandre Dumas’ novel “The Women of the
A lot of people may have been affected by TB, but it was not visible
1854- Dr. Brehmer wrote his Dictoral dissertation wrote that tuberculosis is a curable disease,
he wanted to discover the factors that lead to the treatments of tuberculosis
Rest , fresh air, good nutrition were good factors for treating people with TB
Diagnose an individual with TB
A lot of sanatorium in Switzerland , Italy treatments included a lot of rest, breathing
exercises and good nutrition
o People were not quarantined and feared as opposed to Leprosy or Bubonic plague
o Symptoms do not really appear on the face
1854 Jean Antoine Villemin- specific microorganism is the cause of TB
1850s was the breaking point in the theory of contagion it wasn’t due to the miasmas that
caused the diseases but rathelr due to the transmission of the microorganism
g1882- Dr. Robert Koch- discovered the mycobacterium tuberculosis identified as the leading
cause of TB
o Developed “tuberculin” test first thought that tuberculin was a vaccine, it backfired
and caused a lot of death, it was determined as a diagnostic tool
o Tuberculin test is now used as a first skin test (first test) to see if there has been any
exposure to TB, the second test is a lung test, to see if there is TB infections in the lungs,
or sputum or liquid from the lungs is taken
o Mask screening programs were done to see how many, and who had TB,
1895- Wilhelm Konrad von Rontagen- use of radiation
Agent: tubercle bacillus germ. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an acid fast bacillus
This has to do with the way we can treat or examine it.
3 types of human bacillus
o Type 1- found in India; least virulent
o Type A- Africa, China, Japan , Europe, N America
o Type B- Exclusively in Europe and North America
Several animal forms of the bacillus
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