The First Cholera Outbreak Essay

The First Cholera Outbreak Essay

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Cholera conquered nineteenth century Europe like a new air to a throne. The first outbreaks of the disease appeared to have begun in India which spread smoothly into Britain by trade through Britain’s Indian based empire. Cholera is identified by rapid liquid diarrhea, vomiting, and accelerated dehydration due to depletion of bodily liquids and salts causing blood to coagulate and skin to turn blue. This leads to a fall in blood pressure, otherwise known as the “sinking stage”, which is accompanied by muscle cramping, sunken cheeks and eyes. Eventually internal organs begin to shut down and at this point the host is not only humiliated due to the mutant effect that the disease has on physical appearance but are just as equally as frightened from the life-sucking grasp it has over their body. Victims of Cholera died within hours to a couple days of contracting this water born disease. Hence, the illness was able to swiftly take thousands of lives in Europe due to unsanitary conditions. This triggered an array of responses from the government and medical officials. As well as the way popular reactions influenced the design and implementation of public health policies during the nineteenth century cholera epidemics.
Government responses in Europe varied from nation to nation. Formerly, many governments denied the existence of cholera in order to protect the economy and trade. It was until they could no longer ignore the fact that outbreaks were becoming more intrusive did they acknowledge that something needed to be done.
Until the nineteenth century, cordon sanitaire systems and quarantine were the main disease control methods used to battle epidemics, thus isolation was not contemporary. However, in further response to nineteent...

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...policies to take full effect. Sure some of the policies passed are effective in today’s society but the fact that the public questioned the motives of the government and medical physicians made the situation even worse. The public found out the truth about the dissection affair, but if the contamination theory was right, then the government and the medical professionals involved were not legitimate about the well-being of all people like they tried to appear to be.

Works Cited

Michael Stolberg, “Public Health and Popular Resistance: Cholera in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 68, 2 (1994): 254-277. [24 pp.]
Geoffrey Gill, Sean Burrell, and Jody Brown, “Fear and Frustration—the Liverpool Cholera Riots of 1832,” The Lancet 358 (2001): 233-237. [5 pp.]
“Central Board of Health,” The Times, 16 November 1831, p. 2. [1 p.]

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