Tuberculosis in Hungary before, during, and after World War II

Gábor Kovács, I. Gaudi, Ildikó Horváth

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Tuberculosis (TB) mortality in Hungary in 1900 was 381/100,000. Between the 2 World Wars (WWI and WWII), TB mortality fluctuated until 1924, but then declined impressively and relatively steadily until 1939 (136/100,000). During the interwar period, decreases in TB mortality were achieved through consistently implemented measures, such as isolating patients with active TB, screening patient's environments, and adopting social measures. The battle against TB included TB sanatoriums, inpatient wards, and the network of TB outpatient clinics. Worsening TB mortality erupted during WWII (1939-1945) in regions re-Annexed from neighboring countries to Hungary in 1938 and 1940. Hungary joined the Nazi war effort in 1941, after which the treatment of TB patients deteriorated rapidly. It became increasingly difficult to provide satisfactory amounts and quality of food, which was important for patients. Researching patients' environmental contact screening could no longer be carried out with the required efficiency. It became increasingly difficult to transport laboratory samples and to perform activities in diagnostic laboratories due to the mobilization of physicians for military services. When Hungary turned into a theatre of war during 1944-1945, sanatorium buildings and TB outpatient clinics suffered substantial damage. After 1946, post-WWII TB services were gradually restored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-170
Number of pages6
JournalProgress in Respiratory Research
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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