||Leff A, Lester TW & Addington WW
||Tuberculosis: A chemotherapeutic triumph but a persistence
||ARCH INTERN MED 1979, 139, 1375-1377.
There is evidence that man has suffered from TB
for more than 5,000 years, and through crowded living conditions,
debilitation, and malnutrition, TB became epidemic in western civilization
and was a major cause of mortality. Identification of the tubercle
bacillus as the causative agent in 1882 firmly established the infectious
nature of the disease and the development of sanatoria soon followed.
Before the advent of effective chemotherapeutic agents treatment
involved rest, diet, and various surgical procedures, which were
of little or no benefit to the patient. The discovery of dihydrostreptomycin,
aminosalicylic acid, and isoniazid in the late 1940`s and early
1950`s meant that TB was now entirely curable in virtually all patients.
Despite these effective chemotherapeutic and preventive agents,
TB has receded to socio-economically disadvantaged urban and rural
areas, where the incidence parallels that of developing countries.
Conquest of the disease will require improved health care delivery
to the indigent and dispossessed.