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Disease and Public Health Lecture 10 Medicine, Disease and Society in Britain, 1750 - 1950.

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Presentation on theme: "Disease and Public Health Lecture 10 Medicine, Disease and Society in Britain, 1750 - 1950."— Presentation transcript:

1 Disease and Public Health Lecture 10 Medicine, Disease and Society in Britain,

2 Lecture Themes and Outline Disease, mortality and demography –McKeown thesis –More recent interpretations Three diseases prevalent in c18th and c19th demonstrating varying degrees of state intervention with varying degrees of success (though also many more e.g. measles, typhus, influenza, typhoid) –Smallpox – inoculation, vaccination, protests –TB/phthisis – nutrition vs state intervention –Cholera – widespread public health reforms, sanitation

3 Disease, mortality and demography Epidemic = prevalent in waves, short- term; attacks populations indiscriminately. Endemic = regularly or usually found among the population. Pandemic = global outbreak of disease in limited time period Registration Act – compulsory for births and deaths to be registered.

4 McKeown thesis Challenged the assumption that improvements in medicine directly accounted for population growth – aside from vaccination Falling death rates from disease, particularly childhood disease, were due to better nutrition and living standards and public health rather than immunisation. Work responded to by Simon Szreter and Anne Hardy

5 Smallpox

6 Smallpox endemic and epidemic – only arena where significant decline in death rates due to direct medical intervention up until late c19th. Inoculation – Lady Mary Wortley Montague (1720 son inoculated in Constantinople Vaccination – Dr Edward Jenner, 1790s

7 Edward Jenner ( ) Vaccination developed in Observed that milkmaids and stockmen rarely developed smallpox. Inoculated James Phipps with cowpox and 6 weeks later with smallpox – proved immunity to smallpox. Pamphlet An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of Variola Vaccinae (1798)

8 Jenner vaccinating James Phipps

9 Cartoon by James Gillray: Vaccination against Smallpox using Cowpox serum, 1802, engraving-hand colour

10 Tuberculosis Major killer in the C19th TB was responsible for 17.6% of all deaths in England and Wales. In the early C20th it remained the most prominent chronic illness – 75,000 deaths per year. Spread through close personal contact – important to remove sufferers from their environment.

11 c. 1930

12 Cholera Outbreaks 1826 – second global pandemic, travelled from Asia first hits Britain – second British epidemic

13 Blue stage of girl who died from cholera in Sunderland, 1832

14 Thomas Shapter, The History of the Cholera in Exeter (1832) The inadequate water supply combined with the deficiency of drainage, is of itself sufficient evidence, that the necessary accommodation for the daily usages of the population must have been very limited... they speak of dwellings occupied by from five to fifteen families huddled together in dirty rooms with every offensive accompaniment; slaughter-houses in the Butcher Row, with their putrid heaps of offal; of pigs in large numbers kept throughout the city...poultry kept in confined cellars and outhouses; of dung heaps everywhere

15 Cholera Map of Exeter, 1832

16 Map of Bethnal Green showing the ‘cholera mist’

17 Water supply Bethnal Green

18 Lodging Houses

19 Cholera deaths in England 1849

20 Edwin Chadwick ( ) 1842, Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Working Population of Great Britain. Emphasised the need for experts to be employed by government and believed the role of the state should be regulatory rather than directive. His report cited disease as a major cause of poverty – reduced earning capacity of the working classes.

21 John Snow ( ) j 1855 ‘On the Mode of Communication of Cholera’. Argued that cholera was ‘water-borne’ and not just based on miasmas and insanitary conditions.

22 Snow’s map of Broad Street Soho district in London. Called the ‘cholera field’ by Snow. Over 500 people died in 10 days from 1 to 10 September Snow linked the deaths to the source of water.

23 ‘King Cholera’

24 Monster Soup: Thames Water

25 Public Health Legislation 1848 Public Health Act 1855,1860 and 1863 Nuisance Removal Acts 1866 Sanitary Act 1872 Public Health Act 1875 Public Health Act 1889 Infectious Diseases Notification Act

26 Conclusion Actions against epidemics greatly reduced the numbers of deaths from diseases such as cholera and smallpox. Sanitary reform saved lives and improved living conditions. Public health reform was delivered unevenly across the population – poorer classes often last to receive it. Implementation of reform was affected by the concerns of central and local government – financial, social and legal.


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