Phthisis, tabes, schachepheth, the white plague, consumption, scrofula… Anyone would think that we are talking about many diseases, but all these names refer to a single microorganism: Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
And how is it possible that a single disease has so many different references? The answer is very simple; because tuberculosis has accompanied man for thousands of years, being able to trace it back to 9,000 years.
It was not until the 19th century, specifically on March 24, 1882, that Dr. Robert Koch announced the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. At that time, tuberculosis was the cause of death for one in seven people in the United States and Europe, and Dr. Koch’s discovery was the most important step on the road to controlling and eliminating this disease.
Despite efforts to end tuberculosis since the discovery of the causative agent, about a quarter of the world’s population is infected with this bacterium, and approximately 10 million people will develop the disease each year. Likewise, being this a preventable and treatable disease, about 4000 people die every day worldwide because of it.
This leads us to wonder how it is possible that, even though we have been fighting tuberculosis together for more than a century, it continues to be one of the diseases that cause the most deaths each year in the world. The answer is that Mycobacterium tuberculosis can live, reproduce, and be transmitted in multiple hosts, many of which are our farm animals.
The breeding systems, the density, the spatial distribution and the ecology of the populations, the pathogenesis, the routes of transmission or the capacity to act as reservoirs, especially in wild animals together with the difficulty of diagnosing the disease, are different. factors that contribute to the maintenance of the disease today.
That is why every March 24 we commemorate World Tuberculosis Day, a date we take advantage of to remember Dr. Koch’s discovery, the impact that this disease still has today and the advances that have been made in diagnosis, prevention and treatment of tuberculosis. However, there is still a long way to go to eliminate this disease.
At Nufoer we want to participate in the important mission of raising awareness about the problems that this disease continues to cause, and the importance of continuing to fight to achieve the definitive eradication of tuberculosis.