1940-1990 Therapies are developed

New medicines shorten treatment periods

The three most important anti-tuberculosis medicines were PAS i.e.para-aminosalicylic acid, streptomycin, which is an antibiotics isolated from fungus, and isoniazid.  These antibiotics were initially expensive and in short supply. PAS was developed in 1943, the same year as streptomycin. They came into general use in Finland a couple of years later, for example, streptomycin was introduced into Pikonlinna in 1948 and PAS in 1949. Isoniazid was developed in 1952, and it was brought into use the same year in Pikonlinna, as well. At the end of the 1960s three new anti-tuberculosis drugs were introduced: rifampicin, ethambutol and capreomycin. Thanks to these medicines, even most chronic sufferers could be successfully treated, i.e. patients whose bacteria were resistant to previous drugs.

The year 1945 saw the completion of the pig shed and the hen house. The extension of the Sanatorium’s C Wing, kitchen and residential wing, was completed in 1955. The C Wing also housed a modern operating theatre, as well as rooms for examinations and therapies. Surgical measures and medical care scored great victories in the battle against tuberculosis. At the end of the 1950s specific anti-tuberculosis medical treatment started to demonstrate its efficacy, which led to the gradual shortening of treatment periods. The average time spent at the sanatorium in the 1950s was already less than 90 days.

Tuberculosis was not, however, beaten overnight. Until 1963 the annual number of newly detected tuberculosis cases increased, but then came a turn for the better. The tuberculosis mortality rate started to decline. In addition to keeping patients alive, patient care could also focus on rehabilitating them back to labour market. Efforts were made to assure permanent recovery by obliging TB patients to take anti-tuberculosis drugs for an additional two years after they had been discharged from the sanatorium.