Plagues and People: Tuberculosis
Chapter 13: The Peoples Plague: TB
TB a highly romanticized disease, La Traviata-fallen woman, La Boheme and Camille and tragic romances
with the female lead suffering from TB. Based on Alexandre Dumas novels. Women looked liked they
had rosy cheeks, cherry red lips and pale skin, shiny eyes, extreme thinness, increased sexual indulgence
and men thought this was attractive, but no one knew it was a chronic illness.
TB was called consumption, because it completely took you up or consumed you.
TB is a disease that plagued humans throughout history. Most familiar form is the pulmonary TB of the
lungs, slang word known as lunger. TB can really affect many places but in the US 80-85% of cases attack
TB can also affect the intestine, larynx, lymph nodes.
When the lymph nodes in the neck get swollen it is called scrofula, which comes from the Latin word for
pig because of the shape of the swollen neck looks like a pig
TB can also cause a deformation in the spine, called Pott’s Disease, named after Sir Percival Pott’s who
described the condition. It gives a hunchback. TB can also affect the kidneys. TB of the