By Christian W. McMillen
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Extra info for Discovering Tuberculosis: A Global History, 1900 to the Present
26 But most researchers, rather than trying to prove TB’s ancient pedigree, thought that in its evolutionary history there might be clues to TB’s the rise of race 23 virulence and thus to its control. A 1928 study of Mauritius came to the conclusion that the island’s inhabitants—Indian, Chinese, and those of African descent—all possessed roughly the same amounts of chronic TB—or the “adult type” as it was then called. That acute TB, or the “child type,” was rare led the author to conclude that each population had built up adequate resistance—the Chinese and Indian populations because of their history in tuberculous countries and the Creoles because of their roughly one hundred to two hundred years of contact with the disease.
But Chapple did not base his conclusion on any research; it was based, rather, on casual observation. Again, this was all too common: reasoning from effect to cause. Fourteen years later Allan Krause, a TB specialist at Johns Hopkins and the editor of the American Review of Tuberculosis, wrote of such observations: “Out of a single fact numerous writers have built up a rather stiff doctrine that avers an exceptional lack of innate resistance of primitive peoples to tuberculosis. The basic fact is the common observation that the 28 d i s c o v e ry, 1 9 0 0 – 1 9 4 5 introduction of tuberculosis among less civilized populations is followed by excessive mortality.
S. Public Health Service, set out to discover whether or not there was a link between blood quantum and TB. He found one. 57 Some, like Forrest Clements, who wrote in quite blunt terms about race (“No support can be given the idea that an increased pre-disposition, or increased resistance, to tuberculosis is inherited, and the notion of innate racial susceptibility to the disease is fallacious”), began to suggest that their culture explained Indians’ diseased lives. Racial difference was not embedded in the body, he argued in 1931; innate racial differences did not exist.