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Historical and Pathological Background of Tuberculosis

  • B. J. Cremin

Abstract

The “white plague”, as Oliver Wendell Holmes (1861) named tuberculosis, has infected man for as long as historical records exist. Lesions have been found in the vertebrae of neolithic man (5000 BC) and in Egyptian mummies (3700 BCc). Recent DNA studies on a Peruvian mummy have shown conclusive evidence that pulmonary tuberculosis existed in the Americas centuries before the arrival of Columbus1 Tuberculosis remains man’s greatest killer from infectious diseases and currently affects more than 20% of the world’s population. Every year there are 8–10 million new cases and 3–5 million deaths attributed to tuberculosis2 The World Health Organization is concerned about the situation3, especially in children. There are 1.3 million infected children under the age of 15 years and 450,000 die annually4,5 These children, infected by adults, represent a reservoir from which future generations will be afflicted5.

Keywords

Pulmonary Tuberculosis Childhood Tuberculosis Miliary Tuberculosis Primary Tuberculosis Egyptian Mummy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1995

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  • B. J. Cremin

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