The Epidemic Streets: Infectious Disease and the Rise of Preventive Medicine 1865-1900BMJ 1994; 309 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.309.6949.281 (Published 23 July 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:281
- Brian Hurwitz
Epidemics still sweep the streets of London, taking their toll of its twentieth century inhabitants. Today's epidemic diseases are tackled with diverse drugs and policies: a clutch of childhood immunisations; antibiotics and hospital admission for pulmonary tuberculosis; for HIV, needle exchange, opiate substitution, and safe sex advice. The Victorian medical officers of health had few of these tools. They attempted to combat the epidemics of their day with surveillance, “stamping out,” and sanitary reform.
Anne Hardy examines the impact of preventive health services in London after 1865, when 48 medical officers of health were first appointed to newly designated sanitary districts. She shows how surveillance often depended on …