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  Time Line of TB in Canada

 1867 - Canada’s Confederation

At the time of Confederation in 1867, recurring epidemics were the main problems of public health and tuberculosis was the greatest cause of death. There were no national mortality statistics in Canada at this time, but data for Montreal and Toronto are available from 1880.

An average rate for these two cities, taken as a rough indication of the overall Canadian tuberculosis mortality rate, suggests that it was around 200 deaths per 100,000 population in 1880 and probably did not decrease in the next 20 years. Causes were thought to be heredity, evil spirits, and odours from foul sewage or swamplands, vapors and corruption within the body – including possibly germ infection. Treatment included hypnosis, in addition to purging, blood-letting and other desperate measures. The discovery of the bacillus and the proof that it could be transmitted to others had the effect that "suddenly consumptives found themselves a type of ’leper’ with whom none wanted contact". It also led to the first organized measures to control tuberculosis in the late 1800s, measures that included isolation in sanatoria to prevent the spread of infection, coupled with rest, fresh air and good diet. A milestone was the opening of the first sanatorium in Canada in 1897. When the Canadian Tuberculosis Association was formed in the first years of the 20th century, it emphasized education through public lectures and publication of leaflets, such as the earliest in 1904, "How persons suffering from tuberculosis can avoid giving the disease to others", and "Rules for consumptives and their attendants, and how to prevent tuberculosis".

-- taken from A Statistical Chronicle of Tuberculosis in Canada [pages 5-6].