Journal of Infectious Diseases & Preventive Medicine

Journal of Infectious Diseases & Preventive Medicine
Open Access

ISSN: 2329-8731

+44 1300 500008


Tuberculosis: From an Untreatable Disease in Antiquity to an Untreatable Disease in Modern Times?

Nicholas A Boire, Victoria Avery A Riedel, Nicole M Parrish and Stefan Riedel

The history of tuberculosis (TB) is intricately connected to the history of humanity. The disease is considered one of the oldest infectious diseases afflicting mankind. Its history is that of colorful, often vibrant descriptions and interpretations, in the attempt of human societies to demystify the origins, causality, and course of this grave and lethal disease, and in the ultimate pursuit of finding a cure. The discovery of the tubercle bacillus on March 24th 1882, by Robert Koch, led to an unprecedented increase in international research efforts, ultimately resulting in the development of a vaccine and many potent antimicrobial agents and treatment regimens. However, the course of history is often not without some irony, commonly perceived as being unpredictable by those who find themselves immersed in history’s path. In this sense, and despite the advances that were made in diagnostics and treatment during the past 70 years, TB continues to challenge mankind on numerous levels even today. The most recent emergence of multidrug-resistant and extensively-drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is only a small but significant reflection of the ongoing challenges in the attempt of eradicating this disease. Here we provide a review of the historic aspects of TB leading to a discussion of the current state of the approach to antituberculous treatment, including the aspects of microbiology, diagnostics, antimicrobial therapy, and public health.