Sian Chivers – Personal Identifier - A4265819
Medicine and Society in Europe, 1500 - 1930
Compare and contrast responses to plague in early modern Europe with those to Cholera in the nineteenth century.
Both the plague and cholera proved to be serious epidemics during different times in history and both met with similar and different responses depending on the medical knowledge of the time and on what people believed were the causes of the disease. The plague which was at its worst during the early modern period was most evident around Europe, in particular Italy and England whereas Cholera was most evident during the nineteenth century. There were many responses to each which helped control and minimise the damage caused by each epidemic.
One of the main responses to the epidemics was in the form of the quarantines. During the Plague this was evident firstly in Venice in the 17th century. Regulations were put in place by magistrates to control produce such as the food trade and the fresh water provisions, and people from entering and leaving the city. Along with controlling the incoming and outgoings of the city ‘decrees were issued to order the segregation of the sick from the healthy’ as a means of controlling the disease and stopping the sick contaminating the healthy (De Renzi, 2009, pg 138). As the method of quarantine had worked previously, elements of this are evident in the response to the outbreak of Cholera in the nineteenth century with quarantine of passengers on ships. The travellers were inspected and if suspected resulted in the isolation of infected persons in special hospitals (Brunton, 2009, pg 194). The theory was that if disease spread through contagion then it could be controlled through quarantine. Although favoured by some, it was rejected by others as this restricted trade. Unlike the plague, the Cholera epidemic was not affected greatly by the use of quarantines and so less rigorous quarantine policies were put...