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An old disease meets a new confrontation.

Tuberculosis at its worst was responsible for ushering in a period of social consciousness that changed the manner in which cities function and broadened the awareness that the plight of the poor could spread its infectious consequences even upon people of upper classes.

Health crusaders began to attack poor housing conditions as breedrs of disease. Much progaganda in the early tuberculosis movement blamed the free enterprise system for disease as much as it did the poor air and unhealthful living conditions.

In contradiction, the plight of the tuberculosis victim was beginning to be regarded as the individual's responsibility. People who chose to live in filth and were not ambitious enough to raise themselves out of their crowded tenements and unsanitary living conditions but became tubercular found little pity. The consumptive's predicament was no longer considered pitiful, romantic, or that of an innocent victim. Whoever hadn't learned that pure food, clean air, and living a temperate life were defense against disease "deserved" the consequences. By the 1870's, the war against consumption enlisted its warriors in establishing the necessity for dedication to good habits and a clean environment.

The appearance of Mary Baker Eddy, with her publication, Science and Health, launched the Christian Science Church. It coincided happily with the growing belief that spiritual well-being and thinking healthfully could lead to resistance to disease. Mrs. Eddy bluntly asked it one's own being caused illness, might not that being be trained to purge it?

Long before civilized society became aware of a scientific truth -- that a strong and healthy immune system could be the most effective bulwark of disease -- thsoe who rallied to fight tuberculosis engaged the principle of the body as the hero.
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Title Annotation:Special Issue: Tuberculosis; social conditions and bad health habits were believed to increase the spread of tuberculosis
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jun 22, 1991
Previous Article:Adoption of children from foreign lands pose TB problems.
Next Article:Robert Koch discovers the TB bacillus.

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