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Tuberculosis (20th Century-Present)

  • By: Lilia Malkin-Dubins
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

Tuberculosis (TB) is an ancient illness, known to cause widespread disease and human deaths thousands of years ago. In absence of treatment, TB may progress to life-threatening complications and death.

In disasters where mass housing or disruption of healthcare services occurs, TB can become epidemic and add to the death toll. The advent of antibiotic treatment in the 20th century has dramatically altered the prognosis for TB-infected individuals, substantially reducing morbidity and mortality from the disease. However, there are now numerous cases of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). The HIV/AIDS epidemic has contributed to the overall burden of TB globally, but particularly in developing nations. At the end of the 20th century, infectious diseases were still the largest cause of death worldwide, with TB as the leading ...

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