Tuberculosis (TB) was a major killer in late 19th century and early 20th century Belfast. In the early 1900s an epidemic of the disease led to 13,000 deaths in Ireland.
TB is caused by a bacterium called mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick.
TB bacteria are spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.
A purpose built Central Tuberculosis Institute was built in 1918 at 89 Durham Street.
The building was designed by Young & Mackenzie.
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 Belfast Telegraph, 5 February 2014. https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/future-of-belfast-architectural-gem-at-heart-of-battle-against-tb-secured-89-durham-street-given-listed-status-29980661.html Accessed 2.7.21.