the book The Apprenticeship of Lucas Whitaker, consumption, now known
as tuberculosis, was a big problem. The main character in the book,
Lucas Whitaker lost most of his family from tuberculosis. He was the
only one in his family who didn’t catch the disease. After his family
members died Lucas Whitaker was alone with no where to go.
Tuberculosis can be very harmful on people who don’t treat it correctly. Now people don’t worry about tuberculosis because it has a cure. Anybody can get tuberculosis. The part where tuberculosis affects the most is the lungs and the brain. If tuberculosis doesn’t get treated it can damage or destroy the organ sometimes leading to death.
Today tuberculosis affects mostly people with Aids or HIV. Signs of tuberculosis are: weight loss, fever, night sweats, constant tiredness, appetite loss, and a cough that hangs on. Tuberculosis looks like it’s sucking the life out of you. In the book people believed that the first person to die from this in a family is the one sucking the life from the other family members. They also believed in a cure for tuberculosis. They believed that you could take the heart out of the first person who died, burn it, and let the person who is infected with the disease smell it and they would be tuberculosis free, but that was just superstition, which means that it wasn’t true.
This disease doesn’t just affect humans, it also occurs in animals especially in livestock such as cattle, hogs, and poultry. Tuberculosis is caused by rod-shaped bacteria called tubercle bacilli. A German man called Robert Kock discovered tubercle bacilli in the year of 1882. Mycrobacterium is the group tubercle bacilli belong to. Tubercle bacilli must have oxygen to live. If your defenses are weak you can get infected shortly after it enters your body. It is possible that after many years the inactive tuberculosis becomes active cause of the weakened defenses. The germs can break out of the wall, begin multiplying and damage the lungs or other organs.
Some people have advanced tuberculosis. Advanced tuberculosis means that the tuberculosis that they have is more advanced than ordinary tuberculosis. People who have advanced tuberculosis sometimes even cough out blood. People with only active tuberculosis will have mild symptoms. They might be spreading germs without even knowing.