The Forgotten Plague: How the Battle Against Tuberculosis Was Won - And Lost

Frank Ryan, Author, Ryan, Author Little Brown and Company $21.99 (480p) ISBN 978-0-316-76380-6
Writing with the current threat posed by new strains of tuberculosis in mind, Ryan, a fellow of the Royal Academy of Physicians in Britain and a member of the New York Academy of Science, has compiled a superbly documented, dramatic and alarming history of the ancient plague. Starting with the German country doctor Robert Koch in the 1880s and culminating with the development of multi-drug therapy, the author traces the chain of cures discovered in the early- and mid-1900s by an international handful of little-known researchers, vividly profiled here, many of whom worked at great risk to themselves and under wartime conditions. The last section of the book concerns the emergence, 30 years after TB's supposed extinction, of a global, multi-drug-resistant TB strain, an epidemic of billions of latent germ carriers (an estimated 219 million deaths in 1990 alone), and the possibility that TB and AIDS trigger each other. This, Ryan warns, constitutes ``a synergy of terror never before seen in medical history,'' which will require a global strategy on the part of the entire world health and medical community. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
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