- Paperback: 318 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (August 11, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1108061419
- ISBN-13: 978-1108061414
When this book was first published in 1832, England was caught in a cholera pandemic that had already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives across Europe. It was commonly held that 'bad air' spread the disease, but theories and remedies varied: one doctor advised the Nottinghamshire public to carry silk cushions filled with myrrh and camphor to strengthen resistance to contagion, while in New York officials suspected that raw vegetables and cold water were the root of the problem. In this fiercely logical treatise, ship's doctor William Aiton cuts through even the most prevalent myths to investigate the pandemic's real causes. Throwing out the theory of bad air, he observes that cholera spreads most quickly in cities with a stagnant water supply and overseas trade. Also addressing the spread of other infectious diseases, his work provides an invaluable insight into the conflicting information available to the general public during pandemics.