New York, US (BBN)-Streptomycin, an antibiotic drug used to treat Tuberculosis was discovered on October 19, 1943.
It is also on the World Health Organisation’s List of Essential Medicines, a list of the most vital medication needed in a basic health scheme, reports The India Today.
What is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis classically attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body.
It is spread through the air when people who have an active TB infection cough, sneeze, or transmit respiratory fluids through the air.
Let us take you through the timeline of how the life was before the medicine was discovered and some data/facts on tuberculosis in the world and India.
Life before the discovery of Streptomycin:
Earlier this disease has been called by numerous names including Consumption, Phthisis, Scrofula, Pott’s disease, and the White Plague
The tuberculosis epidemic in Europe, which started in the 17th century and which lasted two hundred years, was known as the Great White Plague
In the 17th century, death by tuberculosis was considered inevitable, and it was the principal cause of death in 1650
In the 19th century, tuberculosis was known as ‘the captain of all men of death’
In the 18th century, tuberculosis reached its peak with as high as 900 deaths per 100,000
In the 19th century the concept of keeping tuberculosis patients isolated in a sanatorium started.
Edward Livingston Trudeau started the first sanatorium in the United States in 1884
Infectious persons were isolated from society and treated with rest and improved nutrition
The first references to tuberculosis is found in the Vedas. The oldest of the reference has been found in Rigveda which calls the disease Yaksma
The Sushruta Samhita recommends that the disease be treated with breast milk, various meats, alcohol and rest
Famous men and women over ages including John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, Emily Bronte, and Edgar Allen Poe suffered from this disease.
Facts about Tuberculosis according to the World Health Organisation:
About one third of the world’s population is infected with tuberculosis bacteria. Only a small proportion of those infected will become sick with TB
People with weakened immune systems have a much greater risk of falling ill from TB
A person living with HIV is about 26 to 31 times more likely to develop active TB
In 2013, 9 million people fell ill with TB
80,000 HIV-negative children died due to TB globally in 2013
The number of people falling ill with TB is declining and the TB death rate dropped 45 percent since 1990
About 80 percent of reported TB cases occurred in 22 countries in 2013
It is estimated that about 40 percent of the Indian population is infected with TB bacteria
It is also estimated by the World Health Organisation that 300,000 people die from TB each year in India
TB is one of the leading causes of mortality in India- killing -2 persons every three minute, nearly 1,000 every day