New book authored by Union experts explores the devastating consequences of the simultaneous outbreak of TB and war

New book authored by Union experts explores the devastating consequences of the simultaneous outbreak of TB and war

Long-standing Union members have authored a book, recently published by Karger, titled ‘Tuberculosis and War. Lessons Learned from World War II’. The authors are internationally acclaimed tuberculosis (TB) experts, Professor Robert Loddenkemper and Professor John Murray.

The book explores the devastating consequences of the simultaneous outbreak of TB and national or international conflict; poverty, suffering, and despair. The book highlights that TB is one of the most common and deadly diseases to occur during wartime, and investigates how it impacts the passage of conflict, and further complicates the special circumstances of warfare.

Speaking about the process that led to the creation of this book, Professor Loddenkemper said: “We came to the conclusion that the topic was such interesting and comprehensive one that it would be worthwhile to create a multi-authored book.” It includes chapters dedicated to challenges in the assessment of TB epidemiology during wartime and the risk factors that increase the prevalence of the disease during a conflict.

In 2015, Professor Murray published an article on TB and World War I (Murray JF. Tuberculosis and World War I. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2015;192(4):411-414). He approached Professor Loddenkemper to suggest they co-author an article on TB and World War II (WWII). The development of the book began there, and vitally includes first-hand accounts from people who lived through these experiences.

This book provides a comprehensive analysis of the status of TB before, during and after WWII in the 25 countries that were chiefly involved. It summarises the history of TB up to the present day. A special chapter on ‘Nazi Medicine, Tuberculosis and Genocide’ examines the Nazi ideology, which during WWII used TB as a justification for murder, and targeted the disease by eradicating millions who were afflicted by it. The final chapter summarises the lessons learned from WWII, and more recent wars, and recommends anti-TB measures for future conflicts.

The book will not only be of interest to TB specialists and pulmonologists, but also to those interested in public health, infectious diseases, war-related issues and the history of medicine. It should also appeal to non-medical readers like journalists and politicians.

Professor Loddenkemper is an Honorary Member of The Union, and Professor Murray was awarded The Union Medal in 2011 for his distinguished career contributing to the fight against TB and lung disease. Both are Associate Editors of the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

The book can be purchased here.

 

 

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