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About this collection

In the first decade of the 20th century, tuberculosis was the leading cause of death in all age groups in the United States. It was estimated that the TB bacillus infected 80 to 90 percent of the population. Doctors and lay people formed the National Tuberculosis Association in 1904 to fight the disease, and the Indiana Society for the Prevention of Tuberculosis was organized in the same year. By 1930, the TB death rate had dropped to 65.9 persons out of every 100,000 people in the state. In 1936, the Depression triggered a rise in deaths statewide. Tuberculosis associations nationwide emphasized the need for public health support, and once again lowered TB statistics. The first breakthroughs in drug therapy came as considerable money, much of it from TB associations, was spent for research after World War II. With little hope of a vaccine on the horizon, prevention remained a major activity for the association, as well as examining legal ways to force recalcitrant patients to "take the cure." The disease is still with us today.

 
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