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TB world wide 2012

TB Micro Bacteria

Isolation In the nineteenth century the concept of keeping tuberculosis patients isolated in a sanatorium started. Initially started in Silelsia in 1859 by Hermann Brehmer the idea caught on. In 1884, Edward Livingston Trudeau started the first sanatorium in the United States. Infectious persons were isolated from society and treated with rest and improved nutrition.

Vaccine and Surgeries for TBIn the 1880s Louis Pasteur began the concept of development of vaccines against anthrax, chicken cholera, and, later, rabies. In 1908, the French scientists Albert Calmette and Camille Guerin grew Koch’s bacillus in several mediums to decrease their virulence and increase the capacity to produce immunity. This led to the now famous vaccine called BCG named after the two founders. BCG was introduced in 1921.Surgery for tuberculosisBefore antibiotics were found effective against tuberculosis, surgical treatment of tuberculosis was common and often life saving. Dr. James Carson, a Scottish physician (1821), began treatment by draining pleural effusion from around the lungs and found surgery helped prolong life. Various techniques evolved but due to lack of efficacy faded away after advent of anti-tubercular drugs.


Antibiotics were used against tuberculosis for the first time in 1944 after the discovery of streptomycin. Use of this agent alone led to antibiotic resistance that is still a major problem.Better results followed the development of PAS (para-aminosalicyclic acid). PAS was an oral agent unlike streptomycin. Thereafter more effective drugs like INH (isoniazid) came in 1950’s and treatment with rifampicin followed. Currently, there are fewer than 20 agents with activity against mycobacterium.

How TB can be transmited

Discoveries pertinent to tuberculosisThe tubercle bacilli or the causative organism of tuberculosis was demonstrated by Robert Koch in 1882. He showed that the organism’s unique protein coat made it difficult to visualize earlier until a specific stain called the Zeihl Neelson stain was discovered.The bacteria was called Koch’s bacillus and since it took up the red acidic dye, it was called AFB or acid fast bacilli. Koch was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1905. In 1895 Wilhelm Roentgen developed X rays which further advanced diagnostics of tuberculosis. This allowed early diagnosis and isolation of infected individuals.


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