Tuberculosis Vaccine Perfected in Asheville, 1912

Image from the University of Virginia Library.On November 5, 1922, medical pioneer Karl von Ruck died in Asheville.

Born in Turkey in 1849 and raised in Germany, von Ruck immigrated to the United States shortly after receiving his medical degree

Von Ruck, who studied and treated tuberculosis and related lung and throat diseases, settled in Asheville because the climate was therapeutic for people with such problems. There he opened a research laboratory and sanitarium before focusing his efforts on creating a vaccine for tuberculosis.

He produced such a vaccine in 1912 in the hopes of preventing children from contracting the disease. The vaccine was found to both prevent and treat TB. He was instrumental in establishing Asheville as the primary area for tuberculosis treatment in the United States.

Von Ruck continued his medical research and treatment of patients until only weeks before his death in 1922. He is buried in Asheville’s Riverside Cemetery.

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