Effects Of 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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During this time, a myriad of new factories and job opportunities, in addition to quicker transportation, in cities helped instigate a massive movement of the global human population from farms and rural villages to large urban cities such as London, England, which created an explosive population growth and an enormous overcrowding issue, especially in Europe and the United States. Many of these newcomers couldn’t afford a high rent, so they lived as tenants in congested rookeries and slums with poor ventilation and sanitation, the perfect breeding ground for tuberculosis. Overcrowded cities posed another problem too. More people leads to more crime which leads to prisons with horrible conditions: “[Prisons] were soon packed wall to wall with prisoners, often eight to ten convicts to each small, windowless cell … Half of all prisoners in England’s Chatham Naval Prison died of [tuberculosis] every year between 1870 and 1880” (Murphy 25). These non-ventilated, packed prisons were another ideal place for tuberculosis to flourish. The lack of hygiene in prisons and poor districts of the city substantially increased both tuberculosis infection rates and fatality rates. The cause of one in seven deaths in Europe during the late 1800s, tuberculosis was one of the most distressing illnesses throughout the Victorian Era…show more content…
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. Contrary to popular belief, although tuberculosis is contagious, it is not as highly contagious as compared to other infectious diseases. Around one in three close contacts, mainly immediate family and intimate friends, and one in ten remote contacts of an infected individual, consequently became infected as well, through exposure to contaminated air (Tuberculosis). This nature of tuberculosis often caused tragedies in households, killing off entire families at a time, since the most frequent visitors were
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