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Przegl Epidemiol ; 74(2): 180-195, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-893172


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.

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
Postgrad Med J ; 96(1140): 633-638, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-751465


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.

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
Med Health Care Philos ; 23(4): 603-609, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-696732


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.

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