Monday, January 16, 2012

Return of the White Plague

Referring to the victim’s loss of skin color, one of Tuberculosis’s (TB) nicknames was the white plague.  It was also known as consumption because of the way it would slowly eat away at a persons health.  We had a discussion about theis almost exactly a year ago.

Katherine Rowland, Nature, 13 January 2012 (hat tip: NC).

Physicians in India have identified a form of incurable tuberculosis there, raising further concerns over increasing drug resistance to the disease1. Although reports call this latest form a “new entity”, researchers suggest that it is instead another development in a long-standing problem.

The discovery makes India the third country in which a completely drug-resistant form of the disease has emerged, following cases documented in Italy in 2007 and Iran in 2009.

White Plague is also the name of an apocalyptic pandemic novel by Frank Herbert novel that he came out with right after he wrote the Dune.  While the reviews are somewhat mixed on that novel,  unfortuantely reality sometimes catches up with fiction. 
In this case the spread of the deady strain of cholera was not intentional, but that is not of much help to the victems.
Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, and Rym Momtaz, ABC News (via Yahoo), 12 January, 2012 (Hat tip: NC).
Compelling new scientific evidence suggests United Nations peacekeepers have carried a virulent strain of cholera -- a super bug -- into the Western Hemisphere for the first time.
The vicious form of cholera has already killed 7,000 people in Haiti, where it surfaced in a remote village in October 2010. Leading researchers from Harvard Medical School and elsewhere told ABC News that, despite UN denials, there is now a mountain of evidence suggesting the strain originated in Nepal, and was carried to Haiti by Nepalese soldiers who came to Haiti to serve as UN peacekeepers after the earthquake that ravaged the country on Jan. 12, 2010 -- two years ago today. Haiti had never seen a case of cholera until the arrival of the peacekeepers, who allegedly failed to maintain sanitary conditions at their base.


Kelly Robinson said...

Intriguing post. Have you read Levar Burton's Aftermath? I was intrigued by the "zebra" people --rich, white men who had skin grafts of African skin in patches on their face. I believe it was a treatment for skin cancer.

russell1200 said...


It sounds Aftermath was trying to deal with inter-ratial issues in what sounds like a rather multi-cultural way, but got beat up by his mainstream audience who had the usual deep understanding of how people other than middle americans live: which is to say none.

I mean go figure, the excluded group goes on a rampage when their first electred president is assassinated.