I would like to add my two bits worth to the TB discussion. Anecdotal evidence is supposed to have no place in science, but here goes!
TB is endemic here along the Gulf of Mexico coast. In the last year we have had two "outbreaks" of TB exposures.One was a foriegn student who died suddenly of TB and exposed other students. The second a local commercial fisherman who exposed others in his community. The health department is still working on the second case.
In the college case, the local health department skin tested everyone who had been exposed. Those who were positive were X-rayed.(All at no cost). Just about everyone who had positive skin tests had negative X-rays. Those who were negative but were still worried because of exposure were offered the long course of medication.
I get the impression that many convert for one reason or another, but few get the disease, because our standard of living is so much better now that when TB was a menace years ago.
People who grew up in England in the 50's may have been given BCG, a type of immunization against TB which I think is no longer given. BCG gives you an automatic positive PPD which can put unknowing health care workers in a frenzy if they are unfamilier with BCG.
USA Medical Center
Mobile AL USA
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