TB in EC: The 1911 Tuberculosis Outbreak in Sawdust City
Walters, Mackenzie R
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Tuberculosis, named for the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is a terrible illness that can be traced back into the earliest parts of history. It still affects people all over the world today, including the United States where it is making an unfortunate resurgence. There are many academic works focusing on the large-scale effects of tuberculosis throughout history and today, but there are few that focus on one community. This study is focused on the substantial outbreak of tuberculosis in the city of Eau Claire in 1911. Using primary sources pulled from the archives at the Chippewa Valley Museum as well as past scholarship on the epidemiology of tuberculosis throughout history, specifically in the United States, this study will explore the treatments available, preventative measures undertaken by the Visiting Nurses Association and the Wisconsin Anti-Tuberculosis Association, and the implications of poverty and the future of public health in Eau Claire after this outbreak. It argues that despite the substantial public health efforts, all efforts to combat tuberculosis prior of the advent of antibiotics had a very limited impact. In the case of Eau Claire, the lack of a cure combined with the lack of resources and education meant that—despite the best efforts of local and state public health organizations—ultimately the outbreak ended with it burning itself out.
Wisconsin Anti-Tuberculosis Association
Public health--Wisconsin--Eau Claire County
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