Tuberculosis And Antibiotic Resistance Essay

1605 words - 7 pages

In the late 1700s, during the Industrial Revolution, the first modern tuberculosis epidemic took off. Within Europe and North America, rural workers began moving in large groups to cities where there was poverty, overcrowding and horrible conditions for living. This ended up creating the perfect environment for the disease to spread. As hygiene, nutrition and medicine slowly improved, what was originally called the Great White Plague began to decrease in numbers. [4] Even in the early twenty-first century, there has been a remarkable increase in global tuberculosis activity. The pathogen responsible for the tuberculosis infection, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, was first identified by Robert Koch in 1882. [2] Over the years, this pathogen has adopted the precise strategies needed to survive in a variety of hosts. These survival mechanisms have created a resistance to currently available drugs which has become a major contributing factor in the failure to control the spread of this disease. [3]
Tuberculosis has been known to primarily affect the lungs, but can also strike organs of the central nervous system, lymphatic system, and circulatory system among others. Although tuberculosis has no true cure presently, antibiotic resistance can only be overcome by more extensive research of new types of drugs to further prevent this disease from occurring. [3] Nevertheless, knowing the underlying cause of death, especially whether it was TB-related or not, is very valuable in monitoring tuberculosis control and may help in for future identifications of medications. [1]
Tuberculosis is a disease formerly called “consumption” in the past because of the way it would take over infected individuals from within. When an individual would become infected with tuberculosis, the bacteria would multiply within the lungs causing pneumonia. This resulted in the patient experiencing chest pain and persistent coughing eventually leading to the coughing up of blood. Additionally, lymph nodes near the heart and lungs would become enlarged as the bacteria spreads to other parts of the body disturbing the immune system. [3] In an effort to fight the infection and prevent it from spreading within the body or to other people, the immune system would begin to form scar tissue around the bacterium. If the bacteria manages to break through the scar tissue, the disease would return within the body and become an active state once more. [3,5] Pneumonia then develops damaging the kidneys, bones, and the meninges lining the spinal cord and brain. In the latent stage of tuberculosis, the bacteria are present in the body but are not active. An individual would show no symptoms and not be contagious in this stage. In the active stage of tuberculosis, the bacteria will make the patient appear very ill and be very contagious to others. Tuberculosis has been considered a major cause of illness and death worldwide. Each year the disease has been recorded to have killed almost two million...

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