The Disease Tuberculosis Essay

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The Disease Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis, a disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis, has been around for thousands of years. In fact, one of the earliest cases of tuberculosis, known as TB, or often referred to as the White Plague, because of the pale skin of the Caucasians who wasted away from it, was found in a young man from Germany about 7,000 years ago. Scientists believe tuberculosis was probably an extremely common disease in Ancient Egypt, and throughout the centuries was spread through Europe, Asia, and Africa. European explorers including Columbus, were blamed for bringing TB to the New World, though evidence proves Native Americans suffered from the disease long before then.

TB did and still does attack
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It most frequently followed miliary tuberculosis, a form of TB in which small nodules of bacteria spread throughout the bloodstream. TB that affected the skin and face would cause a horrible condition called lupus. In the early stages, red marks and thickening of the nose would make the person appear wolflike. In the most severe form, the infected person's nose, eyes, cheeks, and ears were partly destroyed and would make the person look like a living skull.

Tuberculosis of the spine was also known as Pott's disease and gibbus. This made hunchbacks very common as well as causing crippling of the hip joints, shoulders, and arm and leg bones. Serious cases of diarrhea can cause TB in the intestines. In some patients, TB would destroy their voice box, so they could only talk in a low whisper, and even that was painful.

TB does not only affect humans. Cows are affected by a disease known as bovine tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium bovis, which was more common long ago. If the cow's udder got affected, so would the milk, passing the TB on to the humans who drank it. The process of pasteurization later eliminated this. Rats and mice have been found to be affected by a form called vole bacillus. Birds and poultry are affected by avian bacillus, another form of TB, which is also common in many AIDS patients.

Years and years of research by doctors and scientists only added up to a little progress against TB. At
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