Tuberculosis can affect organs other than the lungs, including the
intestine and larynx; sometimes the lymph nodes in the neck are affected,
producing a swelling called scrofula (swollen neck looks like a little pig).
Tuberculosis can also produce the fusion of the vertebrae and deformation
of the spine, called Pott’s disease.
It may also affect the skin (when it is called lupus vulgaris), and the
TB of the adrenal cortex destroys adrenal function and results in
The microbes that cause TB (and also leprosy) are called mycobacteria.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the human pathogen that causes TB
*M. tuberculosis grows best when oxygen is plentiful, and it is associated with
pulmonary TB, probably because the lung has high levels of oxygen.
But TB of the spine is associated with M.bovis and results from a blood
infection that spreads to the spine via the lymph vessels. It has been
hypothesized that M.bovis arose form soil bacteria, and humans first
became infected with M.bovis by drinking milk.
*M. tuberculosis, on the other hand, is specific to humans and spreads from
person to person though droplets of saliva and mucus
Evidence of TB is found in body remains that predate human writing.
Pott’s disease has been described in Egyptian mummies.
Tubercular disease of the lungs is more recent than that of bones. Based
on this, it has been suggested that M.tuberculosis evolved from M. bovis
after cattle were domesticated.
TB, it is believed, then spread to the Middle East, Greece, and India via
nomadic tribes who were milk-drinking herdsmen who had migrated from
the forests of central an eastern Europe.
Hippocrates called the disease phthisis, meaning “to waste”. He believed
that disease was due to evil air, he did not consider it contagious.
Aristotle, however, suggested that it might be contagious and due to “bad
and heavy breath”
During the Middle Ages, royalty claimed that their right to rue and their
talents were of divine origin, and they publicized this thorough claims of