After the Great Northern War in 1721, Sweden ceased to be an important military power. Instead, the kingdom concentrated on developing science. Swedish research got international fame with names as Carolus Linnaeus, Pehr Wargentin and Anders Celsius. Medical research remained limited and malaria was common especially in the coastal area and along the shores of the big lakes.Already in the beginning of the 18th century Swedish physicians recommended Peruvian bark as medication and they also emphasized that bleeding or blood-letting a malaria patient was harmful. Although malaria was a common disease in the kingdom, the situation was worst in the SW-part of Finland which consisted of the town of Turku and a large archipelago in the Baltic. The farmers had no opportunity to get modern healthcare until Johan Haartman was appointed district physician in 1754. To improve the situation he wrote a medical handbook intended for both the farmers and for persons of rank. Haartman's work was first published 1759 and he discussed all the different cures and medications. His aim was to recommend the best ones and warn against the harmful. His first choice was Peruvian bark, but he knew that the farmers could not afford it. Haartman was appointed professor in medicine at the Royal Academy of Turku in 1765. The malaria situation in Finland grew worse in the 1770's and Haartman analysed the situation. He found the connection between the warm summers and the spring epidemics next year.In a later thesis, Haartman analysed the late summer/early autumn malaria epidemics in the archipelago. Althouh Haartman did not know the connection between malaria and the vector, he gave astute advice and encouraged the farmers to build their cottages in windy places away from the shallow bays in which the Anopheles females hatched. Haartman died in 1788. After his death malaria research in Turku declined. His medical handbook would not be replaced until 1844.
Previous influenza pandemics are usually invoked in pandemic preparedness planning without a thorough analysis of the events surrounding them, what has been called the 'configuration' of epidemics. Historic pandemics are instead used to contrast them to the novelty of the coming imagined plague or as fear of a ghost-like repetition of the past. This view of pandemics is guided by a biomedical framework that is ahistorical and reductionist. The meaning of 'pandemic' influenza is in fact highly ambiguous in its partitioning of pandemic and seasonal influenza. The past 200 years of influenza epidemics in Sweden are examined with a special focus on key social structures-households, schools, transportations and the military. These are shown to have influenced the progression of influenza pandemics. Prevailing beliefs around influenza pandemics have also profoundly influenced intervention strategies. Measuring long-term trends in pandemic severity is problematic because pandemics are non-linear events where the conditions surrounding them constantly change. However, in a linearised view, the Spanish flu can be seen to represent a historical turning point and the H1N1 2009 pandemic not as an outlier, but following a 100-year trend of decreasing severity. Integrating seasonal and pandemic influenza, and adopting an ecosocial stance can deepen our understanding and bring the ghost-like pandemic past to life.
The two Hippocratic texts, Aphorisms and Epidemics III, have not been translated into Danish previously. The Aphorisms are 412 short, pithy statements, mostly on the prognosis in relation to certain symptoms in the course of the diseases, very often febrile. The Aphorisms begin with the famous words: "Life is short, the Art long, opportunity fleeting, experiment treacherous, judgment difficult." (Transl. W H S Jones ). Epidemics III consists of 28 case histories, again mostly of febrile patients, but also of observations on the connection of the seasons with general morbidity and mortality. The author describes an epidemic, which in some respects resembles Thucydides' report on the plague in Athens in 430 BC. It is suggested, that observations as have been recorded in the seven Hippocratic texts on epidemic diseases are the material on which prognostic statements as those collected in the Aphorisms are founded.
Average tuberculosis (TB) incidence rates are high in Canadian Aboriginal communities, but there is significant variability within this group.
To determine whether local history of post-contact TB epidemics is predictive of contemporary epidemiology among Aboriginal communities in Saskatchewan, Canada.
TB incidence, age-specific morbidity patterns and rates of clustering of TB genotypes from 1986 to 2004 were compared between two groups of communities: Group 1, in which post-contact epidemics of TB were established around 1870, and Group 2, in which they were delayed until after 1920. Concomitant effects of socio-economic and geographic variables were explored with multivariate models.
Group 2 communities were characterized by higher annual incidence of TB (median 431 per 100,000 population vs. 38/100,000). In multivariate models that included socio-economic and geographic variables, historical grouping remained a significant independent predictor of community incidence of TB. Clustering of TB genotypes was associated with Group 2 (OR 8.7, 95%CI 3.3-22.7) and age 10-34 years (OR 2.5, 95%CI 1.1-5.7).
TB transmission dynamics can vary significantly as a function of a population's historical experience with TB. Populations at different stages along the epidemic trajectory may be amenable to different types of interventions.
Cites: Chest. 1983 Dec;84(6):756-616641310
Cites: BMJ. 1995 Apr 15;310(6985):963-67728030
Cites: Nat Med. 1995 Aug;1(8):815-217585186
Cites: Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1998 Apr;157(4 Pt 1):1016-209563713
In spite of Iceland's geographically isolated position, epidemics of infectious diseases obviously occurred from the very beginning, brought to the island by the first Norwegian settlers and their cattle in the 9th century. People living close together in small farming communities were of course exposed to infection, which must have been common in the narrow Icelandic farmhouses. People had very little understanding or knowledge of protection against contagion, and the whole family, often sleeping together in the same bed, would be an easy prey to contagion. Epidemics were often regarded as caused by supernatural, evil forces, and two of the Icelandic sagas in particular - Grette's Saga and the Eyrbyggja Saga - give an account that may well be the first ever description of an epidemic, perhaps of spotted typhoid fever, in the history of medicine. In these sagas, the accounts are presented as ghost stories. The disease is caused by the faeces of infected lice, and leads to severe haemorrages in the skin and intestine. It also affects the central nervous system and has a high mortality rate.
The Great Plague in Moscow 1770-1772 was suppressed in four months due to the strict and effective administrative measures and outstanding efforts of the doctors in Moscow. For many decades of the previous century the role of the Russian nobility in this victory was "forgotten". In this paper, based on the original documents published just after the Plague in 1775, a real historical picture of that Great Victory has been reconstructed. Many errors and inaccuracies in our historical-medical literature have been corrected and the forgotten role of the Russian nobility in suppressing this serious epidemic has been resurrected. This includes the role of the Senate, the Empress Catherine the Great and Count Gregory Orlov who had been sent by her to Moscow with unlimited power "to put everything in due order", as well as contribution of the Russian scientists in the worldwide struggle against plague.