Dr. Eloise Perez English 1002 Tuberculosis: A Disease Making a Comeback Tuberculosis was once an untreatable disease that meant certain death for those infected. With the development of antibiotics the disease was brought under control and thought to soon be eradicated. Today TB, as it is more commonly referred to, "is the worlds's foremost cause of death from a single infectious agent"(Bloom 11). Why has tuberculosis returned to threaten the lives of millions? Tuberculosis is a disease capable of decimating the human population and has proven itself as such in the past. "By the mid-seventeenth century it was recorded in the London Bills of Mortality that one in five of the deaths in the city was due to consumption," on of the earlier names given TB (Ryan 7). TB is caused by an organism called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. "The bacterium that causes tuberculosis dies in direct sunlight but survives in dust for several weeks or even months"(6).
The most common form of TB is contracted through the air. This makes the disease all the more dangerous. Unlike HIV and AIDS, which demand an exchange of bodily fluids, this disease lingers in the air and waits for anyone who dares take in a breath. The second and least common mode of contraction is through food or drink. This method of transmission is rare with the development of pasteurization and the inspection of foods we consume.
Tuberculosis is a disease that has been around for thousands of years. We can trace back TB as far as ancient Egypt by studying the remains of mummies (Ryan 5) . These remains show skeletal and spinal disfigurement common with TB. "The earliest definite evidence of the disease in Britain has been found in Cirencester in graves dating from the Roman occupation."(Ryan 6).