The Forgotten Plague

In this hour long special by American Experience we a glimpse of the fight against tuberculosis in the early 19th century. This documentary specifically aims its focus on American life in the 1800s and how tuberculosis (better known as TB) ravaged homes, families, children, and communities.

Tuberculosis is a disease that strikes the respiratory system by breaking it down to infantile organs. It can start out as a normal flu virus, with coughing being the number one symptom. After a few days it attacks the lungs at an even more alarming rate, causing internal bleeding, visible when you cough. Silently, the victim will eventually suffer a fatal end if this disease is left untreated, literally coughing himself to death.

An outbreak in the 19th century forced experts in the medical and social field to expand their knowledge in order to combat further outbreak. It even went as far as affecting government policy. This film serves to highlight how medical professionals in the 1800s dealt with the disease having only primitive technology and how exactly they found out how tuberculosis was spread, carried, and how it caused the carriers to become silent victims of the disease themselves.

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