Fact check: Is TB more dangerous than COVID-19?
Medikoe Wellness Expert
80 feet road indira nagar, Bengaluru Jul 28, 2021
Both TB (Tuberculosis) and COVID-19 are infectious diseases that attack the lungs primarily. Both disorders have similar symptoms such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Tuberculosis, however, has a more extended incubation period with slower onset of the illness.
The claim: Tuberculosis is deadlier than COVID-19 but has not received the same public warnings or health measures
COVID-19 may be the freshest and the most relevant respiratory disease, but the unknown concern is misleading, a social media post suggests.
"10 million people developed TB last year out of which about 1.5 million people died," the post states. "Did you even know? Were you frightened for your life?"
The post claims that precautionary COVID-19 measures, such as social distancing, mask-wearing and closing businesses and public spaces, have not been prioritised for TB despite its fatality.
Other posts posit a similar argument by comparing the deaths by day worldwide of TB versus COVID-19, purportedly a bit more than 3,000 to 56.
An ancient disease
Unlike COVID-19, TB has plagued humans for more than a millennium and has gone down in history as one of the oldest conditions afflicting humankind.
It is deemed an ancestor of the bacteria responsible for TB; Mycobacterium TB appeared on the scene over 150 million years ago.
Early physicians in Rome, Greece as well as the Middle East made contributions while investigating this disease. Doctors such as the ancient Greek Hippocrates noted TB, or phthisis (from the Greek phthalein for wasting), seemed to be most deadly in teenagers and young adults. He carefully classified the disease's cardinal symptoms and distinguished the characteristic lesions it made in the human respiratory system.
Advances in TB study plateaued by the middle ages. A new clinical form of TB emerged, identified as scrofula, evident by the emergence of swollen lymph nodes on the neck. Many people in the era believed that a royal touch could heal the swelling. 11th century English King Edward the Confessor is documented as having cured a young woman hurting from scrofula, the swelling healing a week after he laid his hands on her neck.
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