Archive for October 26, 2022

As I sit on my couch on the 4th day of antibiotics for Pneumonia coughing up interesting green patterns I found myself contemplating how people handled the disease prior to antibiotics.

I did some searching and it didn’t take me very long to figure out just how damn lucky I am to have been born in 1963 rather than 1863.

I looked up Pneumonia, it’s been known since early Greek Civilization and discovered that one in four used to die from it. In fact from 1917 to my mother’s death in 2012 a Mass was said on the feast of St. John the Baptist by my family in payment of a vow made by my grandmother for the recovery of my infant Uncle John from the disease

Fortunately for the world those horrible terrible no good imperialistic White European scientists were on the case:

A novel technique called antiserum therapy soon began, and by 1913, anti-pneumococcal serum therapy, if given early in disease progression, was able to reduce mortality from 25% to 7.5%. However, this treatment method was slow, costly, and time-consuming.

On Sunday my Nurse practitioner had quipped that Pneumonia had been going around and most of the people she saw that weekend had caught it. I thought about the people I saw coming and going from Urgent care that day and imagined one if four doomed to die from it.

In the 1930s, the first antibacterial agent,. Although sulfapyridine gained a lot of notoriety when it was used to treat Winston Churchill’s bacterial pneumonia in 1942, this agent was quickly set aside upon the discovery of the antibiotic penicillin in the early 1940s.

By 1977 a vaccine was introduced by 2000 a 2nd which could protect against even some antibiotic resistant strains was created. While people still die of Pneumonia today particularly in third world countries for a person like me in America while I have to deal with the cough and aches my biggest worry barring complications is if I have enough vacation and sick days left to cover the time I’m off.

Of course if in the days of my grandparents all born in the 1800’s Pneumonia boasted it was the “Captain of the men of death” Tuberculosis could turn to it and say: “Hold my beer”

TB known also as consumption till about 100 years ago like Pneumonia is an old disease. There were indications of the disease in Egyptian mummies and written records from China, India, and Ancient Israel. In Ancient Greece the disease was well known and even if you lived in an empire where the sun never set in the mid 1800’s it didn’t mean much to TB

In 1838-39, up to a third of English tradesmen and employees died of TB, whereas the same proportion decreased to a sixth in the upper class

Just a reminder in 1838 England was the most developed nation in the history of the world and one sixth of their ELITES died from Consumption.

It ravaged populations an example:

By the beginning of the 19th century, tuberculosis, or “consumption,” had killed one in seven of all people that had ever lived. Victims suffered from hacking, bloody coughs, debilitating pain in the lungs and fatigue

Run that through your head for a moment.

For thousands of years TB slaughtered populations, but fortunately for the world those horrible terrible no good imperialistic white European scientists were on the job:

The famous scientist Robert Koch was able to isolate the tubercle bacillus. Using the methylene blue staining recommended by Paul Ehrlich, he identified, isolated and cultivated the bacillus in animal serum. Finally he reproduced the disease by inoculating the bacillus into laboratory animals.

Robert Koch presented this extraordinary result to the Society of Physiology in Berlin on 24 March 1882, determining a milestone in the fight against TB

In the decades following this discovery, the Pirquet and Mantoux tuberculin skin tests, Albert Calmette and Camille Guérin (BCG) vaccine, Selman Waksman streptomycin and other anti-tuberculous drugs were developed. Koch contributed also to the elucidation of the infectious etiology of TB and for his scientific results, he was awarded the Nobel prize in Medicine in 1905

Despite the efforts of these horrible white people and the vaccines and treatments they and their successors developed, TB, while not thinning the world’s herd dramatically as it once did , is still a danger killing 1.5 million each year but there is some good news:

Around five percent of the 9.5 million people who contract TB each year are resistant to commonly-prescribed antibiotics, making them difficult to treat. ​Until recently, “the situation with drug-resistant TB was horrible,” Spigelman said. ​Patients were forced to take five to eight pills a day, and often a daily injection, for up to two years, with horrible side effects and a cure rate of just 20 to 30 percent. ​But a new drug regimen BPaL, first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2019, consists of just three pills a day for six months, and has far fewer side effects and a cure rate of 90 percent, Spigelman said. ​”I think it’ll really be an amazing game-changer.”

So when you think of all the things in the world that are annoying your particularly if you are a leftist railing against microaggressions and white culture, take a moment to consider how lucky you are to be living in 2022 and if you’re really perceptive take a moment when nobody is looking to thank your lucky starts for all those horrible terrible no good imperialistic white European scientists and doctors whose work allow you to live long enough to gripe about the horror of being “misgendered” or having someone fail to use your desired pronouns in your august presence.

Closing note John Hopkins press has a book out on the subject titled Pneumonia Before Antibiotics Therapeutic Evolution and Evaluation in Twentieth-Century America by Scott H. Podolsky. If you found this post interesting you might consider it a worthwhile read.