Four cholera epidemics in nineteenth-century London
Tynkkynen K.
Filosofian maisteri,
Arkadiankatu, Helsinki.
Hippokrates (Helsinki). 1995;12:62-88


Asiatic cholera originated in India and spread to Europe in the early years of the nineteenth-century. In Britain the first cases were diagnosed late in 1831. The epidemic, reached London in February 1832. The authorities were poorly prepared for the invasion of a new epidemic and the doctors disagreed bitterly on the measures to be taken. There was little co-operation between the authorities, and the fact that the urban poor mistrusted the medical profession did not improve the situation. All this resulted in several cholera riots. These riots were not, however, as violent as those in several other cities in Europe. The 1832-33 cholera epidemic claimed 4,000 to 7,000 victims in London. It seems probable that several isolated cases of cholera occurred in London in 1852. It was not, however, until September 1853 that it was officially announced by the British authorities that a cholera epidemic was claiming victims not only in London but also in other parts of the country. During this epidemic numerous Londoners lodged complaints against nuisances in the metropolis. Yet, in most cases, the fines imposed on offenders were rather slight, since the authorities were extremely reluctant to interfere with anyone's trade or business. It was during this epidemic that John Snow, a London doctor, succeeded in tracing the epidemic to a single water pump on Broad Street in the Golden Square area. Snow did not, however, succeed in convincing the majority of his colleagues regarding the erroneous nature of the miasma theory during the epidemic of 1853/54, which cost the lives of some 12,000 people in the city area....
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Obstetric anaesthesia
Molecular mechanisms
Chloroform anaesthesia
'The secularisation of pain'
John Snow and medical research
History of anaesthesia apparatus
John Snow and cholera epidemics
Consciousness, anaesthesia and anaesthetics

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