Public health in history - Looking at pandemics: from Black Death to swine flu

Wright, Jane (2011) Public health in history - Looking at pandemics: from Black Death to swine flu. British Journal of School Nursing, 6 (4). pp. 200-201. ISSN 1752-2803

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Abstract

This paper will look at some of the history’s most destructive epidemics and pandemics that have occurred, including the Black Death in the 14th century, smallpox, cholera, typhoid and the influenza outbreak of 1918. Throughout history, magic, religion and science have ‘fought for supremacy’ over the explanations of the causes of disease (Ayliffe and English, 2003). Although direct observation of the patterns of infection occurrence eventually led to an understanding of the spread of disease, this took a long time. From the 1st century AD, infections such as cholera, the plague and chlamydia were thought to be spread through ‘miasma’ or bad air. It was believed that the air was filled with particles from decomposing matter (miasmata), which caused poisonous vapours to infect people. This was not an unreasonable supposition given that stagnant or contaminated water has a foul smell and provides a perfect medium for microorganisms to grow: water borne infections, such as diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera and typhoid have been responsible for many epidemics over history.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: ?? BucksNewUniversity ??
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2012 14:11
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2017 19:18
URI: http://bucks.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/9667

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