A Record of Cholera Asiatica

Situating Vibrio Cholerae through the combination of these two primary sources is important for both science and society, offering profound insights into the interconnected realms of public health, epidemiology, and social infrastructure. Understanding the origins of Cholera through the lenses of both Dr. Coyne in Sligo, Ireland and Dr. Snow in London, England is instrumental in the evolution of empirical evidence and rigorous data analysis that eventually identified the contamination of water which was making these populations ill; our source selection on Dr. Coyne reports former beliefs that Cholera was transmitted through airborne miasmas, while Dr. Snow insists on the idea of contagion through the ingestion of unclean liquids. Both doctors find themselves trying to explain why previous medical theories proved ineffective during the epidemic, yet they both come to the conclusion that they must shift their strategies when it comes to identifying outbreak sources and treatments. Ultimately for society, knowledge of how and why Cholera spreads has been crucial in the understanding of the effectiveness of public health and strategies that should be put in place to prevent outbreaks. The history of Cholera as presented within these two sources highlighted the social determinants of health, demonstrating how socio-economic conditions, such as access to clean water and adequate sanitation, was fundamental in the disease prevention quest. Awareness spread by such doctors fostered a more holistic approach to health which recognized the importance of education and social policies. 

John Snow

John Snow

An English physician who was a founding figure in theories of epidemiology. He was born on 15 March 1813 in York, England and died in 1858, and spent the majority of his life meticulously mapping cases of Cholera in order to persuade local authorities and medical men that Cholera was spread through contaminated water and not miasmas in the air.

Cholera at the Sligo Hospital 1832

Title Page Of Irwin's Account of Cholera at the Sligo Hospital

This journal from Henry Irwin recounts the time he spent in Ireland near the Sligo hospital in 1832 between August and September, and the effects that he was able to witness form the patients he could see from where he was staying. 

Cholera Death Toll Chart

Cholera Death Toll Chart 1832

This death toll chart, from Henry Irwin's time in Sligo 1832 shows the severity of Cholera and just how fast it can act within the two month time period that he was in Ireland for.  This is proof that the diease was able to spread quicker than it could be treated, furthering the spread of Cholera within the United Kingdom and allowing it to infect people without treatment. 

Map of London Water Distribution in 1854

Map of London from 1854 of Water Distribution Systems

John Snow studied this map in 1854 , in an attempt to understand the fast pace at which Cholera was spreading throughout London. This map shows water distribution that is sourced from the Thames River. 

Ferrara 1855: Cholera without Epidemiology

Table of Morbidity and Mortality from Cholera Per Street Number and Number of Inhabitants

This table shows the morbidity and mortality from Cholera during the year 1855. The first table depicts that morbidity was between  2.9% and 6.5% for the duration of about nine months. Whereas the second table depicts some regression of the dieases ability to spreaad as quickly. 

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