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The Social, Political, and Public Health Development of Tuberculosis

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  1. Tuberculosis originally manifested itself as consumption, a disease that carried an interestingly positive diagnosis
  2. The concept of the sanatoria meshed well with the perception of consumption
  3. The medical discoveries that pioneered advances in tuberculosis treatment
  4. The advances in medical treatment, compounded with the evolution of social perceptions of tuberculosis
  5. Since the end of World War II, the panacea of tuberculosis antibiotics had strengthened the individual commitment
  6. The reality of tuberculosis disinterest
  7. Public health and tuberculosis control facing the effects of increasing globalization
  8. The role of politics in tuberculosis control has also undergone a significant change in the twentieth century
  9. The social marketing of tuberculosis
  10. As it stands today, two million die from tuberculosis each year

Tuberculosis has borne an invasive and impressionable mark on public health history. Its presence has influenced the development of medical practice and public health responsibilities, and its impact is still very much felt to this day. Yet the existence of tuberculosis has not been immune to social and political mechanisms. Illness is as dependent on human experience as it is on impersonal pathology (Ott 1). Therefore, as medical understandings of tuberculosis shift, so do the cultural and political interpretations of its influence. However, these conceptions do not necessarily change in complementary directions or relationships, so that social and political perceptions of tuberculosis return to affect its pathogenicity and management. The historical transitions of tuberculosis, from its early influence in the United States to its evolution into multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, are mitigated by social and political response, all of which parallel shifts in public health ideologies from tuberculosis's parochial perspective to its globalized interpretation realized today.

[...] The evolution of tuberculosis in the twentieth century has been a multifaceted change requiring a more universal management strategy, and illustrating how public health has become a globally interdependent practice and responsibility. With public health and tuberculosis control facing the effects of increasing globalization, the understanding of international relationships has become a priority for public health measures. Cultural competency is a necessary component for adapting to the idiosyncratic health practices of various cultures, which is specifically important to tuberculosis treatment. [...]


[...] Marten's work was one of the few that even suggested the possible infectivity of tuberculosis, and unfortunately society was too caught up with their romanticized perceptions of tuberculosis to accept its validity as an infectious agent. The concept of consumption enabled tuberculosis to gain popularity, but it also suppressed any efforts to realistically understand it. It would instead take significant amounts of time and scientific discovery to shift society's romantic hold on tuberculosis. The parochial grasp of consumptive romantics stayed strong until the middle of the nineteenth century. [...]


[...] Development of the Voluntary Health Movement in America as Illustrated in the Pioneer National Tuberculosis Association, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society: Vol 110, No pg 142- 148. Menegoni, Lorenza. (1996). Conceptions of Tuberculosis and Therapeutic Choices in Highland Chiapas, Mexico. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, New Series: Vol 10, No pg Nachega, Jean B. and Richard E. Chaisson. (2003). Tuberculosis Drug Resistance: A Global Threat. Johns Hopkins University. Clinical Infectious Disease: Iss 36, Suppl pg S24-S29. Ott, Katherine. (1996). Fevered Lives: Tuberculosis in American Culture since 1870. [...]

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