Friday, June 01, 2007

Tuberculosis: TB; more

When I was a young boy growing up in St. Louis, each year the school I attended gave each student in the fourth grade a tuberculosis patch test. The year I was in fourth grade I tested positive.
I didn't know what to make of it, all of sudden a lot of people were interested in me. My parents, grandparents, doctors: I was the center of attention and I really wasn't sure why. My memory may be wrong, but I do remember that whatever it was, it was serious.
A medical student who babysat us had contracted tuberculosis and somehow I got tested positive. For several years I would go to this hospital in St. Louis every four months and get a chest x-ray.
I can remember my Mom driving me out there in the family car. Other times I remember her and I taking the bus. I recollect the hospital to be out be the St. Louis airport.
This was probably happening in 1957 or 1958.
So, when this
guy's mug got plastered all over the internet, I paid attention. If TB was serious back in 1958, it appears to be more serious in 2007, especially drug resistant TB.
He appeared to me to have the height of arrogance: his wishes were more important than the safety and well being of thousands. I don't know, the news reports sometimes portray him as a victim, sometimes as a villian.
Tonight, on Countdown, I learned this guy's father-in-law worked for the CDC.
I said he probably didn't want his daughter to marry this guy and infected him.
My wife, a nurse, said nobody is that mean. He probably picked up the infection in his lab became a carrier, and unwittingly passed it to his future son-in-law.
I don't know.

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