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3.
Infez Med ; 28(4): 621-633, 2020 Dec 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-950505

ABSTRACT

The plague caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, provides one of the best historical examples of pandemic infection. It can therefore be considered the first "globalized" disease, thanks also to the crowds that favoured the rebalancing of infectious agents between Europe and the Middle East. In this paper we analyse all the official documents of the time, highlighting the most effective prevention measures implemented in the city of Ferrara during the Italian plague. Historical mortality data for the 1630 Italian plague in northern Italy are first analysed. In contrast to the high rates recorded throughout the area from Milan to Florence, the mortality rate in Ferrara remained normal over the period. From the city's documents it emerged that the authorities, from the 16th century onwards, had already understood that the spread of the contagion could also occur through domestic animals, although rats are never mentioned. The strength of Ferrara's response to the "plague emergency" stems from an efficient and emergency-ready health control system, financed and supported by the "permanent surveillance team of the city and the Pontifical Legation of Ferrara - Azienda Sanitaria Pubblica" even in times of great economic difficulty for the State. Among the various measures that the city of Ferrara adopted to deal with the plague the following should be mentioned: guards at the city gates, lazarettos, safety of doctors, self-isolation and treatment of every suspicious case as if it were a real case of plague, measures to support the poorer classes of the population, veterinary and hygiene standards for the city and for housing, management of Catholic religious functions and the precepts of the Legation of Ferrara, which was under papal control, closure of churches to avoid mass gatherings, and limitations of all kinds of social and economic relations within and outside the population. The broad regimen, laid down in the 16th century, contains extremely modern health rules which are very much in line with those recommended by the WHO and the health authorities of each individual state in the current COVID-19 pandemic, even starting with hand-washing. The fight against epidemics of the past, especially the history of the plague in the 17th century, anticipates very important and valid concepts, and represents a wake-up call for the recent epidemics of emerging pathogens.


Subject(s)
Pandemics/history , Plague/history , Yersinia pestis , Animals , /prevention & control , Disease Vectors , History, 17th Century , History, Medieval , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Paintings/history , Plague/epidemiology , Plague/prevention & control , Plague/transmission
4.
Przegl Epidemiol ; 74(2): 180-195, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-893172

ABSTRACT

Until the 19th century, the factor causing epidemics was not known, and the escape from a place where it occurred as well as isolation of patients was considered to be the only effective way to avoid illness and death. Quarantine in a sense similar to modern times was used in 1377 in Ragusa, today's Dubrovnik, during the plague epidemic. It was the first administratively imposed procedure in the world's history. It was later used in Venice and other rich port cities in the Mediterranean. On the territory of today's Poland, quarantine measures were used by the so-called Mayor of the Air - LukaszDrewno in 1623 during the plague epidemic in Warsaw. The quarantine left its mark on all areas of human activity. It affected all humanity in a way that is underestimated today. Throughout history, it has been described and presented visually. It is omnipresent in the world literature, art and philosophy. However, the isolation and closure of cities, limiting trade, had an impact on the economic balance, and the dilemma between the choice of inhabitants' health and the quality of existence, i.e. their wealth, has been the subject of discussions since the Middle Ages. Since the end of the 19th century, quarantine has lost its practical meaning. The discovery of bacteria and a huge development of medical and social sciences allowed limiting its range. In the 20th century isolation and quarantine no longer had a global range, because the ability to identify factors causing the epidemic, knowledge about the incubation period, carrier, infectiousness, enabled the rational determination of its duration and territorial range. The modern SARS COV 2 pandemic has resulted in a global quarantine on a scale unprecedented for at least three hundred years. The aim of this paper is to present the history of quarantine from its beginning to the present day, including its usefulness as an epidemiological tool.


Subject(s)
Pandemics/history , Plague/history , Quarantine/history , Communicable Disease Control/history , Disease Outbreaks/history , History, 15th Century , History, 16th Century , History, 17th Century , History, 18th Century , History, 19th Century , History, 20th Century , History, Medieval , Humans
5.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 117(44): 27703-27711, 2020 11 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-880729

ABSTRACT

Historical records reveal the temporal patterns of a sequence of plague epidemics in London, United Kingdom, from the 14th to 17th centuries. Analysis of these records shows that later epidemics spread significantly faster ("accelerated"). Between the Black Death of 1348 and the later epidemics that culminated with the Great Plague of 1665, we estimate that the epidemic growth rate increased fourfold. Currently available data do not provide enough information to infer the mode of plague transmission in any given epidemic; nevertheless, order-of-magnitude estimates of epidemic parameters suggest that the observed slow growth rates in the 14th century are inconsistent with direct (pneumonic) transmission. We discuss the potential roles of demographic and ecological factors, such as climate change or human or rat population density, in driving the observed acceleration.


Subject(s)
Pandemics/history , Plague/epidemiology , Plague/history , Animals , History, 15th Century , History, 16th Century , History, 17th Century , History, Medieval , Humans , London , Plague/transmission , Population Density , Rats
8.
Postgrad Med J ; 96(1140): 633-638, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-751465

ABSTRACT

After the dramatic coronavirus outbreak at the end of 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, on 11 March 2020, a pandemic was declared by the WHO. Most countries worldwide imposed a quarantine or lockdown to their citizens, in an attempt to prevent uncontrolled infection from spreading. Historically, quarantine is the 40-day period of forced isolation to prevent the spread of an infectious disease. In this educational paper, a historical overview from the sacred temples of ancient Greece-the cradle of medicine-to modern hospitals, along with the conceive of healthcare systems, is provided. A few foods for thought as to the conflict between ethics in medicine and shortage of personnel and financial resources in the coronavirus disease 2019 era are offered as well.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Ethics, Medical/history , Health Care Rationing/ethics , Hospitals/history , Pandemics/history , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Quarantine/history , Betacoronavirus , Cholera/epidemiology , Cholera/history , Health Workforce , Hippocratic Oath , History, 15th Century , History, 16th Century , History, 17th Century , History, 18th Century , History, 19th Century , History, 20th Century , History, 21st Century , History, Ancient , History, Medieval , Humans , Leprosy/epidemiology , Leprosy/history , Plague/epidemiology , Plague/history , Resource Allocation , United States/epidemiology
9.
Arch Iran Med ; 23(8): 578-581, 2020 08 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-749392

ABSTRACT

In the past two centuries, several fatal infectious outbreaks have arisen in Iran. Presented here is a brief historical account of four fatal epidemics including cholera, plague, Spanish influenza of 1918 and smallpox between1796 and 1979. The lessons from these outbreaks could be helpful for better combatting other deadly epidemics including the present-day disastrous COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Cholera/history , Communicable Disease Control/history , Epidemics/history , Influenza Pandemic, 1918-1919/history , Plague/history , Smallpox/history , Cholera/epidemiology , Cholera/prevention & control , Epidemics/prevention & control , History, 19th Century , History, 20th Century , Humans , Iran/epidemiology , Plague/epidemiology , Plague/prevention & control , Smallpox/epidemiology , Smallpox/prevention & control
10.
Med Health Care Philos ; 23(4): 603-609, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-696732

ABSTRACT

The recent outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is posing many different challenges to local communities, directly affected by the pandemic, and to the global community, trying to find how to respond to this threat in a larger scale. The history of the Eyam Plague, read in light of Ross Upshur's Four Principles for the Justification of Public Health Intervention, and of the Siracusa Principles on the Limitation and Derogation Provisions in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, could provide useful guidance in navigating the complex ethical issues that arise when quarantine measures need to be put in place.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Plague/history , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Quarantine/history , England/epidemiology , History, 17th Century , Humans , Infection Control/methods , London/epidemiology , Plague/prevention & control , Public Health/ethics , Quarantine/ethics
14.
J Nerv Ment Dis ; 208(6): 443-444, 2020 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-432971

ABSTRACT

The aim of this work is to elucidate psychosocial reactions to plagues by analyzing three landmark descriptions from different eras: Thucydides' description of the plague of Athens (430 BC) in The History of the Peloponnesian War, Giovanni Boccaccio's description of the plague in Florence (1348) in The Decameron, and Albert Camus' description in The Plague (1947). Using a narrative inquiry, we found psychosocial reactions to be complex and ambivalent and could discern several coping strategies. We propose that this knowledge can help psychiatrists and other healthcare professionals during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Medicine in Literature/history , Pandemics/history , Plague/history , Social Behavior/history , History, 20th Century , History, Ancient , History, Medieval , Humanities/history , Humans
15.
AMA J Ethics ; 22(5): E441-445, 2020 05 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-372961

ABSTRACT

Health workers offer their skills and care to COVID-19 pandemic patients, just as St Roch offered healing to those stricken by bubonic plague during the Renaissance. This article interprets 3 works of art in light of Roch's story of illness and recovery and applies key insights of ethical, artistic, and clinical relevance to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Paintings/history , Plague/history , Art/history , History, 15th Century , History, Medieval , Humans , Pandemics/history
16.
NTM ; 28(2): 235-252, 2020 06.
Article in German | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-361206

ABSTRACT

This paper is part of Forum COVID-19: Perspectives in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The figure of the plague doctor with the beak mask has become the symbol of the plague par excellence. It's little wonder that the plague mask in the collection of the German Museum of the History of Medicine in Ingolstadt (Bavaria) is one of the museum's most popular objects and motifs. This forum paper investigates the figure of the plague doctor on several levels: first, it analyses contemporary textual and image sources in regard to protective clothing used in times of plague and the respective role of the beak-like part of the mask. Then it takes a close look at the Ingolstadt specimen. By examining the mask's materiality and fabrication, questions of its authenticity and practicability are raised. Finally, the Ingolstadt mask is compared with the specimen at the German Historical Museum in Berlin.The conclusion: the beak mask is not mentioned before the mid-seventeenth century, and then only in Italy and Southern France. There is no proof at all of its use during plague outbreaks in Middle Europe. And the specimens in Ingolstadt and Berlin? Both masks present details which suggest that they were not used as protective clothing at all. We do not know, however, if they were produced as replicas for historic reasons or as fakes for the modern art market.


Subject(s)
Epidemics/history , Physicians/history , Plague/history , Protective Clothing/history , Coronavirus Infections , Epidemics/prevention & control , Europe , History, 17th Century , History, 18th Century , History, Medieval , Humans , Medical Illustration/history , Museums , Pandemics , Plague/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral
19.
Acta Biomed ; 91(2): 234-235, 2020 May 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-295716

ABSTRACT

In western democracies, individual behaviour will be crucial to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as government actions [1] that unfortunately, except China, South Korea and Italy, followed by others,  seems to be generally unconvinced and, speculatively, late. Indeed human history has been marked by epidemics/pandemics which have affected, more or less, large geographical areas [2]. Italy, as well as the rest of Europe, has often been affected by these phenomena and, Lombardy, due to his position, was, as today by COVID-19, severely stroked in Italy that is, after China, the second most affected country [3]. This is also linked to the position of Lombardy and its capital, Milan, but this is beyond this brief comment. There are several differences between the past plagues and the actual COVID-19 pandemic and these must be sought in the increased ability to transmit diseases at-distance through the mobility of humans and goods [4], and in the catastrophic consequences of the breakdown of ecosystems, as told, a few years ago, by David Quammen in the book Spillover [5].


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Plague/history , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , History, 17th Century , Italy/epidemiology , Pandemics , Plague/epidemiology
20.
Science ; 368(6492): 700-703, 2020 May 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-261131
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