Tuberculosis, which we rarely hear of today, killed Poe's mother, stepmother and wife. Why was this disease so devastating in Poe's era, and why is the threat today so minimal?greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
Tuberculosis, which we rarely hear of today, killed Poe's mother, stepmother and wife. Why was this disease so devastating in Poe's era, and why is the threat today so minimal?
-- Anonymous, September 02, 2001
Many people still carry the germ. Poverty and bad nutrition, lack of heating etc. still cause outbreaks. There was no medicine then except a belated attempt to restore one's strength at a retreat. That was why Doc Holliday went to the Denver mountains- and died.
-- Anonymous, September 04, 2001
This question has been recycled here several times, in one form or another. Only the answer remains unchanged.
The fact of the matter is that not all the those in his life died of tuberculosis (consumption). His mother, Elizabeth Arnold Poe is thought to have died of pneumonia in Richmond, Virginia on December 8, 1811.
The death of Ms. Jane Stith Craig Stanard, Poe's "... first, purely ideal love of my soul..", also occurred in Richmond on April 28, 1824 when Poe was 15 years old. Ms. Stanard has been said to have died of brain cancer. While this is not known for sure, she was reported to have been "mentally unbalanced" for periods of time. Regardless, there is no historical evidence or testimony to support a death from tuberculosis.
The death of Frances Keeling Valentine Allan, Poe's foster mother, occurred on February 28, 1829 in Richmond. The only historical reference to her cause of death is a "lingering and painful" illness and no mention is made of consumption. Frances Allan was known to have been sensitive to frail health and was ill during much of their stay in England.
William Henry Leonard Poe, Edgar's brother died in Baltimore on August 1, 1831, most likely from a cholera epidemic that was spreading throughout the large cities of New England. There may be some possibility it was tuberculosis but the cholera epidemic lasted throughout 1831 and did no end until 1832.
Edgar Allan Poe's wife, Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe, died on Janaury 30, 1847 in Fordham, New York. The cause of death was tuberculosis. Her illness cycled between periods when it appeared she was recovering and would then decline rapidly. Each cycle brought high hopes of recovery that always seemed to end in deeper fits of despair. There were said to be days on end when Poe would refuse to leave her bedside and would fall into fits of rage at any suggestion the she would not survive. Considering Poe's devotion to her and his close attendance to her needs, it does seem strange that he did not develop the disease himself.
It is known however, that some people do not necessarily develop the disease but can act as carriers. If the disease does not become active, the sufferer will not show the usual symptoms.
-- Anonymous, September 08, 2001
Tb is by no means whiped out in our own time. It's quite common in third-world countries, and making a comeback amoung the poor of the USA.
-- Anonymous, October 05, 2003