31st July 1849 - the Times reports 'the sickness pervades the whole city'

800px Oxfam East Africa   The Congo River is a lifeline, but also a huge threat On this day in 1849, The London Times reported ‘the sickness is not confined to a particular quarter, but pervades the whole city. Deaths occurred in nearly every street, and some of those streets which are considered the most respectable have been the most heavily visited[1].


[1] “The Cholera.” Times [London, England] 2 Aug. 1849: 8. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 19 May 2014. Document URL http://find.galegroup.com/ttda/infomark.do?&source=gale&prodId=TTDA&userGroupName=hamlib&tabID=T003&docPage=article&searchType=AdvancedSearchForm&docId=CS134381826&type=multipage&contentSet=LTO&version=1.0


By Oxfam East Africa [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons. The photo is clearly not from Salisbury. Oxfam’s description of the photo is that

‘The Congo River is also people’s main source of water for drinking, cooking and washing. Conditions like this are perfect for the transmission of cholera and water-borne diseases.’

The story of the Salisbury cholera epidemic reminds me that what we now see as ‘Third World Problems’ were once ‘First World Problems’.

The problem of cholera was specifically a Salisbury problem not that long ago.