A disease as old as humanity itself: How TB took over the world


New analysis shows the resilient and adaptable disease is as old as humanity itself

Perhaps no other disease has had such a dramatic influence on art, music and literature. Now science has shown that tuberculosis is as old as humanity itself.

Studies have revealed that the tuberculosis bacterium originated many tens of thousands of years ago when the first anatomically modern humans had yet to start their global migration from their African homeland.

The horror of “consumption”, as TB was once called, suffuses modern history – no doubt a reflection the number of novelists and artists it struck down. But the origins of this debilitating lung infection go back much further in time, long before Neolithic people about 12,000 years ago first started to domesticate livestock and build the urban centres where TB could spread easily from one person to another.

A detailed genetic analysis of more than 250 contemporary strains of TB bacteria from around the world has revealed that the infectious agent originated with the emergence of Homo sapiens in Africa more than 70,000 years ago.

Written By: Steve Connor
continue to source article at independent.co.uk


  1. TB is a good argument for public health care. If you have private health care, the streets will be filled with people with untreated TB spreading it to everyone.

  2. New analysis shows the resilient and adaptable disease is as old as humanity itself

    At risk of stating the stupidly obvious, the diseases that cound not adapt, became extint.

  3. How far away are we from modeling TB, atom by atom, and modeling the effect of candidate drugs encountering it, and finding a really tough drug by genetic evolution algorithms? We would need a way to weed out likely toxic candidates.

  4. TB, who cares I’m from the first world. We learned how to take care of that……..

  5. There are strains of TB that are currently resistant to modern drugs available to the general populace. I defend my statement as follows.
    Go research the core dynamics, stats on the subject. I assure you I am of the least percentile at risk.
    Without going into details like, age, race, religion , geographic proximity, sexual preferences, class specifics, risk related behavior, etc, etc..Oh yeah financial influence.
    I can surely say that I am more at risk being bit by a pig. I don’t hang out with pigs.
    Consumption is a horrible and damning ride. Nobody is exempt, certainly not me, but based on all the related affluencey of conditions I am no more at risk than pig attacks.
    I’m not trying to create a better world, I need to secure my existence in an imperfect one. What does science and reason tell you about that. Survival of the fittest.

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