Summary Of Cholera

Decent Essays
Valerie Montague Reading Response 6
He begins by describing the identification of cholera by Koch and some of the epidemiology. Cholera is a gastrointestinal disease marked by excessive defecation and vomiting at alarming rates. This along with a toxin in the small intestines causes dehydration and wearing down of the GI tract. The first known pandemic of cholera began in 1817 and persisted in various parts of the world throughout the 19th century. The disease presents an interesting way to look at social ideologies and imperialism in 19th century Europe with some people accusing others of poison as the cause of the disease. Also those who died of cholera were often given dishonorable burials and designated for dissection. Aberth finishes the chapter by talking about John Snow, a British surgeon who traced cholera back to sewage contaminated with feces decades before germ theory was recognized.
Bynum focuses this chapter on public health measures against disease.
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Evans argues that cholera played a large role in political change and medicalization. To analyze this, he looked at the psychological impact of cholera, the extent of political upheaval, and scapegoats for the epidemic as a mode for policy change. For the first point, Evan stated that the symptoms of cholera went against feelings of ‘Victorian prudery’ as the disease is degrading. He continues by pointing out the idea that the poor are most vulnerable to the epidemic. For his second point, Evans links the outbreaks of cholera to political revolutions and upheavals. Continuing on with this point, he says that mass movement of people by war and trade played a large role in the spread of the disease. For his third point, he shows various scapegoats such as the government with the ‘cordons sanitares’. He says that riots against government quarantine caused the governments to back
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