Tuberculosis became a notifiable disease in 1902, and throughout history has been a major cause of mortality and morbidity in most communities around the world. ‘It was like a leper’s disease’ was the response of an ex-tuberculosis sufferer when asked to describe his experience of having tuberculosis and the public’s reaction to his illness.
In the first half of the twentieth century in Western Australia, the social consequences of tuberculosis were almost as confronting as the disease itself. Until the advent of chemotherapy in 1947, people with the disease were advised to adopt a way of living that would protect those with whom they came in contact. Kissing and close contact with a person infected with tuberculosis were absolutely forbidden.
Using the oral histories of patients and doctors, as well as archival research, Kissing can be Dangerous reveals the way in which social and cultural perceptions of tuberculosis—as well as the biological effects—shaped the experience of the tuberculosis sufferer, and the response of the Public Health Department to the disease. Also included, are photographs and promotional material used by the Government, of the time, in public health campaigns.
Praise for Kissing Can Be Dangerous:
A fascinating history of an important subject…very little has been written on the history of [tuberculosis] disease and health care in Western Australia. [This book] will be of interest to health professionals nationally and internationally.PENELOPE HETHERINGTON, HONORARY RESEARCH FELLOW , THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA
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