Wilhelm Röntgen discovered the X-ray machine in 1895 after German doctor Robert Koch identified bacilli as the cause of TB in 1882. The said machine makes possible men in lab coats and medical scrubs to scan the lungs of the living persons for signs of tubercular lesions. In 1921, BCG or Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, the potent vaccine against TB, was discovered by French scientists. Within a short span of just 6 months of treatment, an infected person can be totally free from tuberculosis. But the malady seemed all too smart to easily be knocked off.
Tuberculosis became even more dreadful in the mid 1980s, and the progress prompted the World Health Organization to declare the disease a global emergency. And in 1995, TB claimed more lives. At present, one-third of the world population is suffering from tuberculosis, and every second someone is newly infected. In 2009, in United States alone, 11,540 cases were reported. There was a considerably big drop of in this number. From 4.2% in every 100,000, there’s been a drop of down to 3.8%. However, thousands still die from this disease despite the discovery of effective treatment many years ago.
Over the past hundred years, TB was successful in sending 200 million to grave. The MDR or multi-drug resistant and XDR or extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis killed 150,000 in 2008. Sadly, even the developed lands were unable to totally rule out this deadly disease. In a region of the developed Russian country, more than half of the cases are drug-resistant. There are places that were effective in fighting off tuberculosis like Peru, Hong Kong and New York City.
Governments and health organizations remain optimistic in winning over tuberculosis, and this year’s celebration of the World TB Day is aimed to raise awareness regarding this global epidemic so as everyone would have part in purging the disease. WHO continues to promote DOTS, which stands for Directly Observed Treatment Short-Course.
Aside from the disease itself, there’s also a need to combat the different aspects that lead to failure of stopping tuberculosis namely deteriorated TB-control programs, incapacity to buy medication, malnourishment, and crowded living conditions. The HIV AIDS epidemic has also helped fuel the spread of TB. And of course, there has to be an effective way to counter the drug-resistant TB strains as they are far more contagious than the common strains.