Return of the White Death

By Octavio Raygoza (class of 2012)

MUMBAI, India, April 2012—As a virulent, new drug-resistant tuberculosis strain surfaces in India, the world fears a resurgence of its oldest disease.

Instead of helping her mother with household chores, Sonam S. Yambhare lay quietly on a rusted bed. She was one among dozens of women in Ward 8, a silent room with unpainted concrete walls in Mumbai’s 103-year-old government-run Sewri Tuberculosis Hospital.

There was no medical equipment in sight. Records were filed in rusted metal cabinets. Sometimes, orderlies, or “ward boys” as they are called, carried away the infected mattresses of dead patients. “Everyone is depressed here,” said Mokshada Chandge, a young doctor on her rounds, explaining the silence, a sharp contrast with the ceaseless bedlam of one of the world’s most densely populated cities.

Octavio’s final story is a print piece.