History of Public Health

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Public health strategies and interventions have changed drastically over time. Bloodletting is one of the most ancient forms of medical interventions. It originated in the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Greece, persisting through the Medieval, Renaissance, and Enlightenment periods (PBS). Doctors used the bloodletting method for every ailment imaginable; from pneumonia, bone fractures, and even wounds, bloodletting was as trusted and popular as aspirin is today. Public health can be dated back to the Romans whom understood even during this time frame that proper division of human waste was a necessary tenant of public health in urban areas. Even dating as early as 1000 BC, the Chinese developed the practice of variolations following a smallpox epidemic. An individual without the disease could gain some measure of immunity against it by inhaling the dried crusts that formed around the lesions of infected individuals. Children were protected by inoculating a scratch on their forearms with the pus from a lesion. However, this practice of vaccination did not become prevalent until the 1820s, following the work of Edward Jenner to treat smallpox (Kumar, 2007). When the Black Plaque stuck Europe in the 14th century, many different intervention techniques were used. Removing bodies of the dead was thought to prevent the spread of the infection, however this did little to stop the spread of the rodent-borne fleas carrying diseases. Burning parts of cities resulted in much greater benefit, since it destroyed the rodent infestations. The development of quarantine in the medieval period helped mitigate the effects of other infectious diseases as well. The history of public health in the United States can be divided into f... ... middle of paper ... ... History of Public Health in Illinois. (n.d.). Public Health in Illinois: A Timeline of the Illinois Department of Public Health. Retrieved from Recent News. (n.d.). IDPH Online. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Future of Public Health. What Will It Take to Keep Americans Healthy and Safe? Retrieved from Accessed 25 January 2012. Kumar, S. (n.d.). Public Health. Priory Medical Journals Online. Retrieved January 25, 2012, Retrieved from Starr, D. (n.d.). Red Gold the Epic Story of Blood. PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved January 25, 2012, from
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