“Fewer Deaths From Tuberculosis” from the April, 1921, issue of The Health Bulletin, published by the North Carolina State Board of Health
A new low death rate from tuberculosis in North Carolina was established in 1920, according to statistics compiled by the Bureau of Vital Statistics. The total number of deaths from this cause for the past year was 2,865, as against a total of 3,005 for the previous year. The reduction in deaths from tuberculosis was one of the important items in enabling the state to achieve a remarkably low death rate as a whole, the rate for all diseases having been 12.9 per thousand.
Figures tell an eloquent story of the winning fight against tuberculosis in North Carolina during the past few years. In 1915 this disease, popularly known as “the Great White Plague,” filled 3,710 graves with Tar Heels. Since then there has been a steady decline, so that last year there was a difference of 845. The people of the State are demonstrating that tuberculosis is a curable and a preventable disease.
A comparison with the United States as a whole shows that this State has an enviable record. In 1919 tuberculosis caused a total of 111,579 deaths in the United States, with only organic heart disease being charged with a greater number of deaths. The rate was 131 per 100,000 of population. The rate for the same year in North Carolina was 117.5 per 100,000 of population, and last year this rate dropped to a new low level of 112 per 100,000. While it will be several months yet before accurate figures for the entire country are available, it would seem almost assured that this State will be among the 10 having the lowest death rate from this cause.
Fatalities from tuberculosis have been much greater among the negroes of the State than among the whites. The beginning of an organized effort among the negroes to fight tuberculosis was made about two years ago. The State Board of Health and the North Carolina Tuberculosis Association jointly have maintained and directed the work. The recent General Assembly made an appropriate of $100,000 for a sanatorium for the treatment of negroes suffering with this disease. Equally as good results may be expected to follow among the negroes as have been achieved for the population as a whole.