The bacteria that causes tuberculosis (or consumption) was once the scourge that COVID-19 is today. Indeed, for a disease that can be cured through a vaccine, it is still active and can infect a body through airborne contact. TB remains one of the top 10 causes of death in the world.

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This historical cross was a symbol of French patriotism, and a symbol of the war against tyranny—the tyranny of disease, in this case. The Cross of Lorraine consists of one vertical and two horizontal bars. In most renditions, the horizontal bars are “graded,” with the upper bar being the shorter, though variations with the bars of equal length have also appeared.

It can be seen in the logo of the American Lung Association (its use was suggested in 1902 by Paris physician Gilbert Sersiron as a symbol of the “crusade” against TB) and related organizations throughout the world, and it’s historically known from tuberculosis Christmas seals programs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About one quarter of the world’s population has latent TB, which means they have been infected by the bacteria but are not (yet) ill with the disease, and cannot transmit it.

People infected with the bacteria have a 5–15% lifetime risk of falling ill. Persons with compromised immune systems, such as people living with HIV, malnutrition or diabetes, or people who use tobacco, have a higher risk of falling ill.

When a person develops active TB, the symptoms (such as cough, fever, night sweats or weight loss) may be mild for many months. This can lead to delays in seeking care, and results in transmission of the bacteria to others. People with active TB can infect 5–15 other people through close contact over the course of a year. Without proper treatment, 45% of HIV-negative people with TB die—and nearly all HIV-positive people with the disease die.

 

The post The Daily Heller: A Medical Double Cross appeared first on Print Magazine.