Historical and Pathological Background of Tuberculosis

  • B. J. Cremin


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.


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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    British Medical Journal (1994) News report. 308:808Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Stylbo K, Rouillon A (1981) Estimated global incidence of smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis: unreliability of officially reported figures on tuberculosis. Bull Int Union Tuberc 56:118–125Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kochi A (1991) The global tuberculosis situation and the new control strategy of the World Health Organization. Tubercle 72:1–6PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    EPI Update Supplement (1989) Childhood tuberculosis and BCG vaccine. Geneva: World Health OrganizationGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Starke JR, Jacobs RF, Jereb J (1992) Resurgence of tuberculosis in children. J Pediatr 120: 839–855PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bloom BR, Murray CJL (1992) Tuberculosis: commentary on a reemergent killer. Science 257:1055–1064PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ober WB (1983) Anton Ghon and his complex. Pathol Annu 2:79–85Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bignall JR (1971) Tuberculosis in England and Wales in the next 20 years. Postgrad Med 47: 759–762CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Watson J (1993) Tuberculosis in Britain today. Br Med J 306:221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Buckner CB, Leithiser RE, Walker CW, Allison JW (1991) The changing epidemiology of tuberculosis and other microbacterial infections in the Untied States: implications for the radiologist. AJR 156: 255–264PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Snider Jr. DE, Rieder HL. Combs D, Bloch AB, Hayden CH, Smith MHD (1988) Tuberculosis in children. Pediatr Infect Dis J 7: 271–278PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Davis SD, Yankelevitz DF, Williams T, Henschke CI (1993) Pulmonary tuberculosis in immunocompromised hosts: epidemiological, clinical and radiological assessment. Semin Roentgen. 28:119–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    MacGregor RR (1993) Tuberculosis: from history to current Management. Semin Roentgenol 28:101–108PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Miller WT, Miller Jr. WT (1993) Tuberculosis in the normal host: radiological findings. Semin Roentgenol 28:109–118PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Centres for Disease Control: A strategic plan for the elimination of tuberculosis in the United States. (1989) MMWR 38:269–272Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Grange JM, Festenstein F (1993) The human dimension of tuberculosis control. Tuberc Lung Dis 74: 219–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Snider Jr. DE, Roper WL (1992) The New Tuberculosis. N Engl J Med 326: 703–705PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Nemir RC, Krasinski K (1988) Tuberculosis in children and adolescents in the 1980s. Pediatr Infect Dis 7: 375–379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Agrons GA, Markowitz RI, Kramer SS (1993) Pulmonary tuberculosis in Children. Semin Roentgenol 28:158–172PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Inselman LS, EL-Maraghy, Evans HE (1981) Apparent resurgence of tuberculosis in urban children. Pediatrics 68: 647–649PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kustner HGV (1991) Tuberculosis in the Cape Province. Epidemiological Comments 18: 30Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    De Cock KM, Soro B, Coulibaly IM et al. (1992) Tuberculosis and HIV Infection in Sub-Saharan Africa. JAMA 208: 1581–1587Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Nunn P, Odhiambo J, Elliott A (1960) Tuberculosis and HIV Infection. Lancet 1044Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Berenguer J, Moreno S, Laguna F et al. (1992) Tuberculous meningitis in patients affected with human immunodeficiency virus. N Engl J Med 326: 668–672PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Davis SD, Yankelevitz DF, Williams T, Hanschke CI (1993) Pulmonary Tuberculosis in immunocompromised hosts: epidemiological, clinical and radiological assessment. Semin Roentgenol 28:119–130PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Medlar EM (1955) The behaviour of pulmonary tuberculous lesions: a pathological study (Part II). Am Rev Tuberc 71: 1–244PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Pratt PC (1979) Pathology of Tuberculosis. Semin Roentgenol 14:196–203PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Hacque AK (1990) The pathology and pathophysiology of mycobacterial infections. J Thoracic Imaging 5: 8–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Caffey J (1988) Primary Pulmonary Tuberculosis. In Silverman F (ed), Pediatric X-Ray Diagnosis (8th Ed) Chicago: Year Book Publishers, pp 1210–1227Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Bass JB, Farer LS, Hopewell PC, Jacobs RF, Snider DE (1990) Diagnostic standards and classification of tuberculosis. Am Rev Respir Dis 142: 725–735CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    MacGregor RR (1993) Tuberculosis: from history to management. Semin Roentgen 28:101–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Palmer PES (1979) Pulmonary tuberculosis — usual and unusual radiographic presentations. Semin Roentgenol 14: 204–248PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Starke JR, Taylor-Watts KT (1989) Tuberculosis in the pediatric population of Houston, Texas. Pediatrics 84: 28–35PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Vallejo JG, Ong LT, Starke JR (1994) Clinical features, diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis in infants. Pediatrics 94: 1–7PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Woodring JH, Vandivere HM, Fried AM, Dillon ML, Williams TD, Melvin IG (1986) Update. The radiographic features of pulmonary tuberculosis. AJR 146:497–506PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. J. Cremin

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations