Thursday, August 20, 2015

ThrowbackThursday The Cholera

"The health of the city of Dubuque was never better. While neighboring cities have been visited by that enemy of our race, the Cholera, Dubuque, with the exception of two or three strangers who died of it, has thus far escaped unharmed."
July 22, 1854

"The health of our city still continues excellent - with the exception of occasionally a case of Bilious derangement, our citizens are enjoying absolute immunity from sickness and pain."
July 29.1854

"There have been a few cases of Cholera in Dubuque, confined principally, to the floating population - and some few have died. To our knowledge there has been no panic or excitement whatever in regard to it, and we have not heard of any of our citizens flying from it - if any have done so, we can assure them, that they can, with perfect safety, return to the bosoms of their anxious families, and expectant friends, as there has not been a case of Cholera in Dubuque for several days past. Our friends at Hazel Green, who have been thrown into such a state of excitement about the ravages of Cholera in Dubuque, may rely upon the truth of our statement as avoe given."
August 18, 1854
Dubuque Weekly Observer, July 29, 1854
In 1854, 1424 people died of cholera in Chicago, and in fact, thousands would die across the nation during the nineteenth century cholera pandemicsCholera is a bacterial infection that causes intestinal distress and can lead to death from dehydration or other complications. Over the centuries it has killed millions of people throughout the world, and is still a significant danger in many parts of the world today. Thousands have died from cholera infections in Haiti since the earthquake in 2010.

You can read more about the history of cholera and its impact on the world in The Ghost Map: the story of London's most terrifying epidemic--and how it changed science, cities, and the modern world by Steven Johnson. Johnson tells the story of Dr. John Snow whose research led to our modern understanding of how cholera and other diseases spread, and what we can do to help stop them from becoming devastating outbreaks.

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