Respiration 1998;65:5–15
(DOI:10.1159/000029220)

History of Tuberculosis

Herzog, Basel H.
email Corresponding Author


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The earliest evidence of tuberculosis (TB) in man and animals is provided by bone finds – mainly fragments of vertebrae – showing the gibbus typical of tuberculous Pott’s disease. The oldest examples of spinal TB, in the form of fossil bones, date back to about 8000 BC [1]. A bone from the Neolithic period (ca. 5000 BC), found in the region of Heidelberg, likewise shows evidence of tuberculous changes. Findings in certain Egyptian mummies clearly indicate that spinal caries existed around 2400 BC. The depictions of a gibbus in statuettes of Ancient Egyptian and pre-Columbian origin represents clear evidence of spinal TB. Lastly, there is the unique bacteriological finding of acid-fast bacilli in smears taken from a psoas abscess in the astonishingly well-preserved mummy of an Inca child from around 700 BC, clearly documenting a case of TB of the lumbar spine [2, 3].


 goto top of outline References
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    External Resources

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 goto top of outline Author Contacts

Professor H. Herzog
Passwangstrasse 4
CH–4059 Basel


 goto top of outline Article Information

Number of Print Pages : 11
Number of Figures : 0, Number of Tables : 1, Number of References : 35


 goto top of outline Publication Details

Respiration (International Review of Thoracic Diseases)
Founded 1944 as ‘Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Tuberkulose und Pneumonologie’ by E. Bachmann, M. Gilbert, F. Häberlin, W. Löffler, P. Steiner and E. Uehlinger, continued 1962–1967 as ‘Medicina Thoracalis’

Vol. 65, No. 1, Year 1998 (Cover Date: January-February 1998)

Journal Editor: C.T. Bolliger, Basel; H. Zerzog, Basel
ISSN: 0025–7931 (print), NIL (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.ch/journals/res/resdes.htm


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