This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
This absurd and not yet obsolete custom has contributed a large proportion of the victims to this disease. By constriction of the chest, some portions of the lungs are rendered inactive, and these inactive parts are thus rendered unnaturally liable to this disease.
Another most important cause of this terrible malady is contagium. Within a few years it has been shown beyond chance for reasonable doubt that consumption is a communicable disease. It has been proven that the disease may be communicated through eating the flesh of tuberculous animals, and also by the use of the milk of consumptive cows. Furthermore, there is strong evidence that the disease may be communicated through respiration by breathing infectious particles exhaled by a consumptive person or animal The danger is of course the more imminent the more closely confined the healthy person may be with the individual suffering with the disease, and the less attention is paid to ventilation. Numerous cases might be cited in which a kind relative or an attentive nurse has very closely followed a friend to a consumptive's grave. The probability is very strong that contagion, especially through the medium of consumptive animals, is really one of the most widely acting and active causes of this terrible malady.
The English medical journals are devoting considerable attention to the subject of consumption in cows and other animals. The British Medical Journal calls attention to the late report of Mr. Law, of Cornell University, to the National Board of Health, quoting from the report as follows:"Phthisical cows are often eaten without causing obvious disease in the consumers. I have known large dairies of tuberculous cows in the hands of vigorous and healthy looking owners, who consumed the milk freely. It may be freely concluded that a large number of individuals while in the enjoyment of robust health will withstand the influence of tubercle taken in by the stomach; but it must be otherwise with the weak and young, those with poor feeding and worse air, those living in damp, sunless localities, and subjected to much exposure. In a case that recently came under my notice in Brooklyn, N. Y., a family cow was found in an advanced state of tuberculosis, and the owner and his wife were evidently rapidly sinking under the same malady. In another case reported to me, a family cow, supposed to be suffering from lung-plague, was found to be afflicted with tuberculosis instead, and the owner's wife (a consumptive), who had been making free use of the milk, warm from the cow, was persuaded to give it up, and underwent an immediate and decided improvement It is for infants and adults who are somewhat infirm or out of health, or whose surroundings are not of the most salubrious kind, that the danger is greatest; but this embraces such an extended class that the moral interests involved are almost illimitable. The destruction of infancy and wasting of manhood from this cause is unquestionably far greater than has hitherto been realized."
Notwithstanding the opinion of Prof. Law that the milk and flesh of consumptive cows may be eaten by robust persons without injury, it is evident that there is at least a possibility that even the well may be affected, and where there is a hereditary tendency to consumption, the possibility will undoubtedly become a probability. Again, while a person might successfully resist the infection when in health, a sudden temporary indisposition, even that from a simple cold, might be sufficient to make him susceptible to, and entail upon him, a fatal malady. We agree with Mr. Law in thinking that this danger is far greater than is generally realized, and the present prospect is that the danger will increase rather than diminish.