These are the many names of TB throughout history. A disease so deadly and so prevalent for so long that it's bizarre how it might be so forgotten by the general public.
One of the best documentaries I've seen in a while. Not due to any bells and whistles in its presentation... but because I learned so much about a disease I already knew something about. It's based in part on the book by Sheila Rothman, "Living in the Shadow of Death: Tuberculosis and the Social Experience of Illness in American History."
I think one of the most interesting aspects of the documentary is that it shows the changing views of people with TB. And the changing treatments. In earlier times, people didn't understand germs and TB victims were... victims. One view was that there was a "climate cure" for consumption... that being in fresh, natural air and environments could help. Eventually, land developers had an impact on those looking for a climate cure and lured people into new, unsettled or developing territory. The city of Pasadena started as a colony of consumptives from Indiana! Los Angeles was initially "a city of invalids" (many newcomers arriving by train to LA were actually greeted by a 30 piece band in 1886).
But new cities paid a serious price for their recruiting success... they didn't have the resources to care for so many poor and sick.
Understanding the contagion ultimately brought about a serious stigma on the individual because the disease was so wildly contagious. By the 1890s the medical community got a clue about the bacteria/germs and the name "Consumption" was dropped and replaced with the name that linked it to the bacteria... Tuberculosis. People were shunned, isolated, quarantined in subtle and extreme ways. It's interesting to see how prevention of the disease impacted education campaigns, clothes, beards, hygiene, and working conditions and labor laws. So many cultural changes... because people had to.
Then came the streptomycin breakthrough in the 1940s... then other antibiotics treatments, and by 1950, most were recovering... sanatoriums closed, things changed, life improved... we began to forget. But the end of the documentary reminds us we're certainly not free of the disease. In the 1980s, TB spiked as a result of the AIDS epidemic and drug resistant TB has become more common since then. There are nearly ten thousand cases of TB in the US and 9 million worldwide.
Sure leaves you something to think about.