Just fifty years ago, Koch discovered the tubercle bacillus. This "find" proved epoch making and comparable to the discovery of gun powder, the printing press, the steam engine, the cotton gin and the pneumatic tire, in that each of these has perceptibly modified man's previous mode of living. Within the brief span of a half century and because of this discovery, the world's outlook on tuberculosis has completely changed.
Tuberculosis as "captain of the hosts of death" has been dethroned. Be the cause what may—and the contributing factors have been legion—this disease has been deposed from its high pinnacle by "heart disease" and now sulkily sits as the seventh chief offender in this regard. From 1898 to 1908 the death rate from tuberculosis dropped one fourth; in the next decade, that is, from 1908 to 1918, it dropped one third; from 1918 to 1928 it dropped one half. Since 1918
BAKER JN. THE RURAL TUBERCULOSIS PROBLEM IN THE SOUTH: CHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS. JAMA. 1933;101(5):333–335. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740300001001
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