Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 June 2016
Consumption, more commonly known today as tuberculosis, richly deserved its reputation as a leading cause of death in seventeenth-century England. As recently as the turn of the twentieth century, it was responsible for one third of all deaths among U.S. adults between the ages of 20 and 45. On a global scale, this so-called white plague has continued to be the cause of death for approximately 3 million individuals each year-more than any other single infectious disease. In the developing world, tuberculosis continues to account for 26% of avoidable mortality among adults.