Public health and epidemiology

Public health and epidemiology - PUBLIC HEALTH AND THE...

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PUBLIC HEALTH AND THE PREVENTION OF DISEASE HISTORY OF EPIDEMIOLOGY Our ancient ancestors recognized that diseases spread from one person to another. The idea that people with certain diseases are "unclean" is ancient, and is still with us (e.g. HIV+). These people (marked by some highly visible condition like leprosy or other skin condition), were (& they still are) shunned by their fellows. Lepers were often required to wear bells or to continually cry " UNCLEAN " in a loud voice so as to warn people of their presence; failure to follow these rules resulted in severe punishment or even death. During outbreaks of highly infectious diseases like the bubonic plague, smallpox and flu people fled in terror from the foci of the infections, which were often deemed "unclean". Of course this almost always had the effect of SPREADING infectious diseases further a field. The SCIENCE OF EPIDEMIOLOGY or the study of the origin, cause and spread of disease got its start during the cholera epidemic of 1854-55 in London. A physician, John Snow, reasoned that cholera was an infectious disease and that its spread was related to unsanitary conditions, particularly the LACK OF SEWAGE DISPOSAL. To support his contention, he collected a wealth of data on the cholera victims, including their addresses, their major source of water, professions etc. He plotted this information on a map of London and noted that the majority of cholera cases were located in a certain area. He further noted that most of the victims obtained their water supply from a local pump known as the " BROAD-STREET-PUMP ". After failing to convince people to stop drawing their water from this source he halted the epidemic by the simple process of removing the handle from the pump. His study was so well done that it is still used today to teach epidemiologists how to collect and interpret data on the spread of disease. He further went on to show that local water companies that obtained their water from regions of the Thames river, which were heavily polluted with untreated sewage
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Public health and epidemiology - PUBLIC HEALTH AND THE...

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