London's Rise From 1850's Filth: Unsanitary Living Conditions & Mass Migration - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1336 Words
Date:  2023-04-04


At around 1850, London was among the largest and filthiest cities in Europe. By that time, the numerous residents of London lived so close to each other with the poor sanitation system that was available at the time. Since most of the places in the world meant for residence were rural areas, London attracted masses to stay in the city. An increase in population in London led to situations such as millions of people living around garbage and also wasted. The sewers were more often than not clogged, and some people made a living out of cleaning the sewers and dumping the waste around the furthest places of the city. So, around 1854, Sarah Lewis' child became ill, which affected the baby, causing the baby to have violent diarrhea.

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The soiled diapers of the child were thrown to the basement of her home where there was a cesspool, and in several days, a lot of people were affected, leading to a cholera epidemic in the area of Soho. Cholera is a waterborne disease caused by bacteria and has also been in existent for centuries and has risen problems among many countries in the world to this era. Cholera targets the small intestine leading to dehydration, vomiting, and also, the most dominant of its features is diarrhea. The disease though fatal, was controlled by the access to clean and sanitary water.

The time John Snow, who was a doctor and made himself a pioneering anesthesiologist expressed some interest in the cholera epidemic since its outbreak happened in 1848. During that time, there were doubts about the transition of cholera through the following theories, one insinuating that some contagious microorganism transmits to the cholera victims and that the bad odors that came from areas which were not sanitary caused cholera.

So as the pandemic continued, Snow and another doctor visited the households that were affected by the epidemic and had an encounter with the affected families. After some visits, Snow discovered that the epidemic was from the water pump, which was the best source for clean water. And the young doctor addressed the board of governors at a church meeting, pleading with them to get rid of the pump handle from the community's well.

The pumps were gotten rid of and prevented the further continuation of the epidemic. Snow had formulated a stronger theory regarding his findings on cholera and found out that two siblings who were locals, their mother died of the disease transmitted by the water drawn from the community well he also noticed that those locals who did not never drink from the pipes that were from the community well had not been affected.

Snow's waterborne theory had then been a basis of medicine when there was an outbreak and gained acceptance as a basis for strong research and decision making in most sectors of public health. The theory was accepted by the end of the year 1854 across most of the countries in Europe, rendering the ceasing of the epidemic in the western cities and eradication of filth in all of the areas.

According to TR Frieden and JA Sbarbaro (2007), observation is useful in fulfilling the obligation of the patients at individual levels. It is also one of the most important methodologies as far as public health is concerned. John Snow, who was a young doctor, by then observed that people who contracted Cholera were due to poor sanitation and the community well. Through his observation of the deaths that were of a common source, he formulated the waterborne theory, which went head to aid in the stopping of cholera.

In modern public health, surveillance of the disease by tracing its spread and also its origin is what consists of its observation of the epidemic (Johnson, 2006). Proper surveillance has an outstanding capability of the early identification of the people who would be at risk in case an outbreak occurs and how the provision of treatment and the aid of other public health facilities, which reduces the cost of dealing with the outbreak (Johnson, 2006). It is also important to observe as, through observation, ideas of how to prevent the diseases erupt, and the factors that lead to the increase of the spread of the disease are known. In comparison to the impact caused by the outbreak of the disease associated with treatments, the cost of observation would below.

Surveillance of the disease assists the country in providing the best health information for the provision of a better quality of the health of its citizens and formulation of policies in prevention of the impact of the diseases in the event of an outbreak. Snow accidentally created a double experiment in fear of rediscovering the disease whenever there seemed to be a decrease in the spread of the disease.

The fear caused the death of a total of 616 people when the second re-emergence of the disease would have been prevented. The fear instilled in the people by the death of the cholera victims led to the improvement of the people's standards of hygiene (Johnson, 2006). The current outbreak of zika virus anxiety has caused most of the public health authorities to be more vigilant in how an emerging infection occurrence occurs. The campaigns meant to help in the promotion of health end up working by eliciting fear to the residents instead of alerting the citizens.

During the outbreak of the Ebola disease, there was a clear indication that the methods used by the new public health officers had changed such that the professionals do not feel safe and since moved out of their offices. The scenario calls for mistrust of the public health officers. .During the Ebola outbreak, it was seen that leaders also stocked fear by issuing information that is not adequate.

Since the fear by the public health leaders would take advantage and even comment on a suspected incidence of Ebola where an individual contracted the virus by helping an infected person out of a taxi though there was no evidence present in support of the statements. Scientists decide to investigate the issue, and they found out that Ebola is not spread by casual contact and can only spread if an infected person coughed or sneezed on an object or if the body fluids of the patient get direct content with that of a healthy member of the public. Members of the public would not listen.

Effects of toxic agents, pollutants show the effect on the body of an individual similar to which fear causes rendering fear extremely dangerous to the health of human beings. DC Parra, TL Makenzie, and IC Ribeiro in situating that through the fear of the residents of direct tuberculosis observation is the system used in teaching the treatment of the disease. The book The Ghost map has inspired the feeling of social responsibility in me as an individual. Dry Snow is now the patron saint of the area.

The story also shows some urbanism in a way meant to provoke diversity in the different solutions discussed on the ways meant to curb an epidemic by the need for clean water and fear for the disease. The book has also brought to existence the thoughts of the invisible kingdom of the microscopic bacteria, which most times caused the diseases that were experienced bringing out the cultural realm and also some ideologies that would help in the eradication of the bacteria to prevent their effects (Johnson, 2006). Apart from the narration, if the occurrence of the disease, the book based on true occurrences has helped in defining human understanding to being sensitive to little issues involving sanitation and other compromising methods that would become vectors.


Frieden, T. R., & Sbarbaro, J. A. (2007). Bulletin of the World Health Organization.

Johnson, S. (2006). The ghost map: The story of London's most terrifying epidemic--and how it changed science, cities, and the modern world. Penguin.

Parra, D. C., McKenzie, T. L., Ribeiro, I. C., Ferreira Hino, A. A., Dreisinger, M., Coniglio, K... & Simoes, E. J. (2010)... American journal of public health.

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London's Rise From 1850's Filth: Unsanitary Living Conditions & Mass Migration - Essay Sample. (2023, Apr 04). Retrieved from

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