Monday, August 5, 2019

Some Nasty, Lifelong Diseases Around

This report, from Germany, about a major outbreak of TB.

Peeps, Americans don't know about TB. It's not just a little respiratory 'thing' that can be zapped with antibiotics, followed by a quick cure.

It can be a lifelong infection, that cripples, spreads, diminishes overall health, limits occupational choices and travel, and has the potential to wipe out most of the 19th -21st century advances.

America was lucky, both in the willingness to dedicate the money to wiping out TB as the 'normal' condition of living in the slums, and in being able to keep out those affected through rigorous screening and quarantine of potential immigrants.

Those methods didn't stop TB completely, but it did keep it from infecting beyond random outbreaks over the last 100 years. In my grandparents' lifetime, TB went from common, to extremely rare in America.

It wasn't scientific miracle drugs, just good old-fashioned public hygiene, good nursing of those affected, and rigorous and meticulous quarantine/sanitation procedures.

We're in danger of a major disease outbreak right now. We cannot continue to accept, and release into America, those coming in that could be Patient Zero on a pandemic like not seen since this Black Death - which, it must be reminded, killed about 1/3 of the WORLD'S population.

Some previous pandemics here.

How epidemics changed history.



I read a very interesting, albeit exceedingly dry, book called "Armies of Pestilence" some years ago. It discussed multiple plagues throughout history. Two in particular fascinated me.

One was a plague that hit one of the - IIRC - Greek city-states. One of the victims was a physician whose account of the varied states of infection were so clinically precise and descriptive the consensus is that the plague was typhus.

Another was some city, again IIRC since it's been years, in Sicily. Apparently there was one city where the only staging area for any invading army happened to be right next to a swamp... with lots of disease-bearing mosquitoes. Each invading army would see this area, camp there, and get hammered by disease.

Yes, we are due for another bad one. As I've stated both on my blog and elsewhere, imagine someone with Ebola on the NYC subways.

wheels said...

When I was attending the US Naval Academy (class of 1975), one of the mess hall staff turned up with an active case of TB. All of us had to be tested for it. My roommate was one of those who tested positive. He, and the others, were put on a course of medicine for a month or so. His girlfriend was a nurse, who told him that the course of treatment cost rather more than our monthly pay.

I'd hope it would cost less now, but I suspect that I'd be disappointed in that expectation. Now, consider how many people may need treatment after exposure.