In the 1700s, cities in Europe and North America were expanding quickly, and many people lived in tiny, cramped homes and tenement buildings. During this time, tuberculosis (TB) outbreaks were common—and deadly. Between 1700 and 1900, TB killed about 1 billion people around the world. Why? In the 1880s, a German doctor discovered that TB was caused by tiny germs that could spread whenever a person suffering from the illness coughed or sneezed—or even breathed! The crowded living conditions in cities made deadly TB outbreaks more likely.
By the 1950s, effective antibiotics for tuberculosis had been created and the disease was considered treatable. So people don’t need to worry about contracting the illness anymore, right? Readers will learn otherwise when they meet Oswaldo Juarez, a nineteen-year-old student who lived in Florida. He was hospitalized and almost died from a new form of TB—in 2007! In Tuberculosis: The White Plague!, kids will learn all about the history of this contagious illness, how the disease continues to mutate and adapt, and the ways doctors are fighting back and developing new cures.