In the past, tuberculosis was called consumption, because it seemed to consume people from within, with a bloody cough, fever, pallor, and long relentless wasting.

Other names included phthisis (Greek for consumption) and phthisis pulmonalis; scrofula, (in adults), affecting the lymphatic system and resulting in swollen neck glands; tabes mesenterica, TB of the abdomen and lupus vulgaris, TB of the skin; wasting disease; white plague, because sufferers appear markedly pale; king’s evil, because it was believed that a king’s touch would heal scrofula; and Pott’s disease, or Gibbus of the spine and joints. Miliary TB is an archaic term that is still occasionally used, and is when the infection invades the circulatory system resulting in x-ray lesions with the appearance of millet seeds.

This form of TB is now more commonly named disseminated TB.

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