Plagues and People
Chapter 13: The People’s Plague: Tuberculosis:
•Disease is also called consumption; con meaning completely and
sumere meaning to take up.
•More commonly called tuberculosis, TB, or ‘the white plague’
•1800s when epidemic TB reached its peak in Western Europe, they
were considered beautiful and erotic.
•TB is a chronic infectious disease that was romanticized.
•Tuberculosis of the lungs called pulmonary TB is given a slang word
•When localized in the lungs tuberculosis can run an acute course,
causing major destruction in a few months.
•Pott’s disease –after sir Percival Pott – causes deformation of the spine,
described in 1779. Lead to hunchback and also affect the skin and the
•Tb of adrenal cortex destroys the adrenal function and results in
•Microbes that cause TB are called mycobacteria; their free-living
relatives inhabit the soil and water.
•Have a protective cell wall, rich in unusla waxy lipids, such as mycolic
acid and polysaccharides.
•M. Tuberculosis. M. Leprae and M. avium are human pathogens that
cause TB, leprosy and pulmonary disease.
•M. avium is in opportunistic infection; weight loss, fevers, chills, night
sweats, abdominal pains, diarrhea, and overall weakness
•M. bovis; can infect people by infrequently and great difficulty. Grows
under conditions where oxygen levels are low, not associated with lung
•M. tuberculosis grows best when oxygen is plentiful and is associated
with pulmonary TB.
•Tb of the spine is associated with M. Bovis, and results form a blood
infection that spreads to the spin from the lymph vessels.
•Hypothesized that we were infected with M. bovis by drinking milk.
•M. tuberculosis is specific to humans and spread form person o person
through droplets of saliva and mucus.
•Potts disease has been described in Egyptian mummies from 3700 BC
to 1000 BC
•But TUB of the lungs has been found more recently than the other
bones, from 1000 BC to 400 BC