In No. 1 of this street the cholera first appeared seventeen years ago, and spread up it with fearful virulence; but this year it appeared at the opposite end, and ran down it with like severity… Henry Mayhew


Portrait of a "cholera-preservative woman". Text below describes the clothing and devices she and her dog use to ward off the disease.

Portrait of a “cholera-preservative woman”. Text below describes the clothing and devices she and her dog use to ward off the disease.

Cholera : the biography  Christopher Hamlin  Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2009  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. x, 344 p. : ill. ; 21 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Dr. C.Y. Girard's ginger brandy, for sale here. Print shows two frontiersmen giving some of ginger brandy to a sick man leaning against a tree. Caption continues: "A certain cure" for cholera colic cramps dysentery, chills & fever, is a delightful & healthy beverage.

Dr. C.Y. Girard’s ginger brandy, for sale here. Print shows two frontiersmen giving some of ginger brandy to a sick man leaning against a tree. Caption continues: “A certain cure” for cholera colic cramps dysentery, chills & fever, is a delightful & healthy beverage.

Cholera is a frightening disease. Victims are wracked by stomach cramps and suffer intense diarrhoea. Death can come within hours.

Texas, Galveston - Quarantine Station no. 2

Texas, Galveston – Quarantine Station no. 2

Though now seeming a distant memory in Europe, which suffered several epidemics in the 19th century before John Snow identified the link with water, cholera is still a serious threat in many parts of the world – Zimbabwe is a recent example. Snow’s discovery was one of the great breakthroughs of epidemiology and a wonderful story from the history of science.

Quarantined children of cholera victim

Quarantined children of cholera victim

Later came the discovery of the culprit organism – Cholera vibrio -understanding of its life cycle, and the development of a vaccine. But the problem of cholera has not disappeared. This book tells the story of cholera, and looks at both the medical success in the West, and the different attitudes to the disease in countries in which it is prevalent as opposed to those in which it put in a temporary appearance. Unlike other books on cholera, which focus on the experience of particular countries, Christopher Hamlin’s account draws together the experiences from various countries, both those that were colonies and those that were not.

Poster showing a figure of Death reaching down from storm clouds to menace a devastated populace.

Poster showing a figure of Death reaching down from storm clouds to menace a devastated populace.

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