Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Tuberculosis

Background Knowledge

Robert Koch discovered tuberculosis. In 1882 in Germany, near or in Berlin he came up with a new staining method and in front of a group on March 24, 1882, he tested this new method. He tested guinea pigs, apes, humans, and cattle. In all of the specimens the bacteria was identical. Some members in the audience called this presentation the most important scientific event in their lives. Koch became known as "The Father of Genetics" for this discovery.

Tuberculosis Diseases and Ailments

Tuberculosis can actually live in your body without causing any symptoms. This is known as latent TB infection. Normally, this is because the body can fight off the infection, and while you may have it, nothing will seem wrong. If the bacteria does become active and reproduces, however, you will go from having latent TB infection to having TB disease. There are several symptoms, such as having a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer, pain in the chest, or coughing up mucus or blood.

How Tuberculosis is spread

Tuberculosis is spread through the air, which can happen when a person coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby will most likely breathe this air and then get infected.

Known Treatments and Prevention

BCG Vaccine: the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin is the most commonly used of all tuberculosis treatments. It is much more effective in children than adults. Often times, adults who receive this vaccine test positive for the disease.

Chemoprophylaxis or Drug Treatment: This helps people who have been exposed to tuberculosis to not become infected with the disease. The main drug used is isoniazid, which is used to treat infants and people who have been recently infected.

Sanatoria: Before the use of vaccines was widespread, people would quarantine infected people with sanatoria to try to reduce the transmission of the disease.

Benefits and Contributions to science/medicine.

Scientists have found a vaccine that is 70-80 percent effective for treating the most severe cases of tuberculosis. BCG is their vaccine used for TB and other diseases. A recent blood test shows that people are far less likely to show signs of latent TB infection as well as preventing severe diseases.

Works Cited

"Robert Koch and Tuberculosis." Tuberculosis. Nobel Prize Committee, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.

"TB Prevention | Vaccine, Drug Treatment, Isolation." TB TB Facts, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.

"Tuberculosis (TB) Disease: Symptoms & Risk Factors." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 07 Jan. 2016. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.

Wong, Sam. "International Study Suggests Benefits of TB Vaccine Have Been Underestimated." International Study Suggests Benefits of TB Vaccine Have Been Underestimated. N.p., 15 Aug. 2012. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.


Created with images by NIAID - "Mycobacterium tuberculosis Bacteria, the Cause of TB" • NIAID - "Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (XDR TB) - Options for Treatment"

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