A Review of State Laws on Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis is a communicable disease caused by the tubercle bacillus. It is spread by means of infected sputum or secretions conveyed from a sick person to a healthy one. It may be spread by means of milk and bovine tuberculosis has also been demonstrated to be communicable to man by means of milk taken from infected cattle. It is probable that the infection is contracted in infancy and childhood and rarely in adult life. The bacilli may be present in a person in a quiescent state for many years and the disease develop only when the vital resistance has been so lowered that the germs may make headway. In fact, it is believed that a large proportion of the population has latent tuberculosis, which, in most cases, never goes beyond the dormant stage. This fact has been shown by autopsies of persons who have died from other causes. Tuberculous lesions have been found, though there may have been absolutely no signs of this disease in the physical condition of the person when a live, Tuberculosis of the lungs, or consumption, is the most common form, though various other parts of the body may be attacked.This review of the laws pertaining to tuberculosis now in force in the various states of the United States is offered as a thesis for the degree of Master of Science in public health at American University, Washington, D. C. It has been carried on during the school year ending in May, 1923. It is an original study, never before undertaken, and will prove of great value to sanitarians and sociologists, especially those interested in the prevention and control of tuberculosis. It will also, it is hoped, exert an influence on the whole great anti-tuberculosis movement in this country.