The Forgotten Plague

Tuberculosis is an ancient killer, and emerging strains are deadlier than ever. Award-winning photographer James Nachtwey captures the crisis

James Nachtwey / VII for TIME

As the number of drug-resistant TB cases continues to rise, health officials are finding ways to treat less contagious patients at home, where family and community members work together to ensure that patients like this woman in Swaziland continue to take the medications they need to recover

Thousands of years after Tuberculosis ravaged ancient cultures stretching from Greece to Egypt, more than a century after the bacillus responsible for the disease was first identified and decades after the first antibiotic-based treatments appeared, TB continues to thrive. In 2005 the disease was diagnosed in 9.2 million more people, almost exclusively in the developing world, and 1.7 million people died from it. More alarming is a growing subset of TB cases, estimated at half a million, that are resistant to more than one of the handful of anti-TB drugs. While they still make up only 5% of the total annual...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!