Tuberculosis In The Victorian Era

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Tuberculosis in the Victorian Era
Tuberculosis has been one of the most fatal diseases since the beginning of history. However, it was especially dangerous during the Victorian Era. All Victorians experienced the distress of tuberculosis in some way, making it a tremendous problem for society at the time. The eternal search for an effective, absolute cure of this dreaded disease has lasted for centuries, from the Ancient Egyptians on the Nile, to modern times. Nevertheless, several crucial leaps were made in the medical field during the Victorian Era that helped to curb the toll of tuberculosis on society.
Tuberculosis is a potentially lethal, contagious disease, mainly caused by a bacterium known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, or Mtb. This
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Tuberculosis is spread from person to person through droplet infection. In other words, when an active victim coughs, they eject millions of tiny infected aerosol droplets of sputum into the air, and when another person breathes in the Mtb, the bacteria nestle in the lungs, make themselves at home, and immediately begin multiplying. Despite this, tuberculosis does not live long under exposure to the sun, and can only hang in the air for around four hours before it dies (Breslin). Also, tuberculosis does not spread through contact with a patient’s body, their personal belongings, sharing food or drink, and even kissing (How). Consequently, contrary to popular belief, tuberculosis is not as highly contagious as compared to other infectious diseases. Since exposure to contaminated air and prolonged proximity with tuberculosis patients dramatically increases the likelihood of infection, around one in three close contacts, mainly immediate family and intimate friends, and one in ten remote contacts of an infected individual thus became infected as well (Tuberculosis). This nature of tuberculosis often caused tragedies in households, killing off entire families at a time, since the most frequent visitors were relatives. The most famous example of an entire generation of a bloodline being completely wiped out by tuberculosis was the Bronte sisters. These…show more content…
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