Barlament, James Donnell
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This thesis explores the intersections and mutually dependent developments of, on one hand, medical and scientific advancements in the control and prevention of infectious diseases, and, on the other hand, the growth of consumerism in America at the turn of the twentieth century. These intersections and mutually dependent developments did not always occur in a straightforward manner. They often reinforced each other through persistent misunderstandings and misinformation about disease or the way diseases spread. Americans’ obsessive fear of bacteria led them to sometimes irrational actions in their fight against these new enemies. This fear also opened a conceptual space for the imaginary disease autointoxication and subsequent advertised cures for this ailment.