TB: Through the years

  • Health
  • Sunday, 11 Jan 2004

Examinations carried out on mummies revealed that TB was common even in acient Egypt.

5000 BC 

Earliest evidence of human TB found in Neolithic grave near Heidelberg, Germany. 

4000 BC 

Examination of mummies shows TB was common in Egypt. 

460 BC 

Hippocrates identified “phthisis” (which means “wasting”) as the most widespread and fatal disease of his time.  


TB, then called “consumption”, reaches epidemic proportions during the Industrial Revolution in Europe, due to overcrowding and unsanitary living conditions. 


Hermann Brehmer builds the first sanatorium in Gorbersdorf, Germany, believed to be able to cure TB patients by isolating them and providing them with rest, fresh air and good nutrition. 


Robert Koch identifies the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, the tubercle bacillus, as the cause of tuberculosis in humans. 

1910 - 1920 

French scientists Albert Calmette and Camille Guérin develop the BCG vaccine. 


Selman A. Waksman discovers stretpomycin, the first antibiotic used to treat TB. 


WHO declares tuberculosis a world emergency after recognising that one in three people are infected globally. 

End 2004 

Malaysian scientists hope to develop world's first DNA diagnostic test for TB. 

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