1. wicked_poppies
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    wicked_poppies Member

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    Tuberculosis?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by wicked_poppies, May 3, 2011.

    How long would you think it would take tuberculosis to kill a 12 year old girl in the 1800's? I cannot find anything that tells about the prognosis. Only things I can find are about current day meds....
     
  2. Dandroid
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    Dandroid Senior Member

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    it can go on for years...the incubation period can be a few weeks to a couple months...the infection can spread or go dormant...it can reappear later if immunocompromised...
     
  3. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    My best educated guess would be a few weeks to a month, depending on her social status and potential medical care. If she is poor, she might not even last that long, but if she is rich, she may extent her life even longer than that.

    You may be better off searching for "consumption" as opposed to "tuberculous" as this was what it was commonly called in the 1800s.
     
  4. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    Quoted from TellzAll:

    I imagine because of the poor living conditions in the 1800s that the disease would advance a bit more than it would today, so something that would take years now to fully progress and develop would take more like several months for them. A child, I'd bet, would be much more susceptible to illness.
     
  5. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    You must remember that TB can affect any part of the body. The most common organ affected is the lungs, in which case death could be a drawn out affair. TB meningitis on the other hand can go from a mild headache to death in less than 24hrs. It's rare to get such a florid presentation of the disease and would most likely occur in a severely immunocompromised patient, but it's possible.
     
  6. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    As the others have said, it depends.

    If you wanted to cut it short then she could develop pneumonia.
     
  7. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. Pulmonary TB is Pnuemonia caused by Tuberculosis. So that statement doesn't quite ake sense.
     
  8. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    OK, it made sense to me.

    If it is not pneumonia then what other complication could/would hasten someones death in this situation?

    Someone with TB must be prone to complications and infections that could speed up the inevitable.
     
  9. teacherayala
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    teacherayala Contributing Member

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    I've had pneumonia. Simple pneumonia is not the same as TB. Pneumonia is usually dangerous to young children.
     
  10. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    You've had a typical bacterial/viral pneumonia. Mycobacterium Tuberculosis is an atypical bacteria but still a type of bacteria, and therefore can causes an atypical pneumonia. It's true the infection caused by typical bacterial strains eg. H. Influenza, streptococcus pneumonae can progress very rapidly in children, usually faster than a TB pneumonia, but it would be incorrect to say that pulmonary TB is not a pneumonia. It's just a different type (usually more chronic).

    Like I said the TB could spread from the lungs to the brain giving the child an encephalitis or meningitis. Those usually cause the greatest and most rapid mortalities, and in the 1800s with no antiTB medication/ coupled with a malnourished/immunocompromised child death could ensue very fast indeed.
     
  11. wicked_poppies
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    wicked_poppies Member

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    Wow, I'm learning so much! LOL Ok, well, I'm not actualy killing my 12 year old character, just bringing her to the point of death. My thinking was that in rural Kentucky (where my story takes place) during the 1800's, TB was still rather unknown, because most of the deaths where happening in europe, right? So I figured that they wouldent know exactly what she had, and therefore regardless of class, they would be unable to treat her. So, this is perfect actualy, because I dont want her to die in 24 hours, or for it to take years either. Let me know if anything I've said is incorect that you can see.
     
  12. Lilithmoon
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    Lilithmoon Member

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    My great grandmother died of tuberculosis. They still called it consumption then and told her to move out west where the air was drier. She was diagnosed when she was around 13 and died in a sanitarium when she was almost 30.
     
  13. Ellipse
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    At that point in history TB was actually called Consumption because the disease appeared to consume the host and cause their body to waste away.
     
  14. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, with good care and conditions, TB sufferers survived many years. It's usually a very slow moving illness and it can lie dormant for years because the immune system can suppress it. In the old days, if it spread to the bone it crippled and caused lesions, but that's less pretty for your heroine.

    TB came to the US along with immigrant families. The European tuberculosis 'plague' started in the early 18th century I think, so any immigrants after then could have brought it. You know John Keats, the poet, died of TB in 1818? His brother also died of TB--in Kentucky, where he had emigrated! I suggest you read up on Keats' illness--he came close to death several times, then recovered. It would have been obvious to any doctor that a girl had consumption, but in any case, it was usually advanced by the time symptoms were very troubling.

    People frequently used to have TB where I live so I've known plenty of people who have had it in their family, but now all kids are given the BCG vaccine at primary school and it's uncommon, at least in the main cities.
     

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