Miasma Theory: The Theory Of Bad Air Caused By The Environment

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The underlying focus of Miasma theory relied on the theory of bad air caused by the environment. The new environments of the tropics being explored by the western world and the new environment of cities created by the industrialization in the nineteenth century, provided new types of bad air, and thus best explained the emergence of diseases as epidemics. Malaria became a major problem in the tropics, and Cholera became a major problem in the cities. The mechanism of spreading for cholera and malaria, were believed to be best explained by the proposed Miasma theory with the disease being caused by the air. In the case of cholera, the sewer system gives off the bad air, and in the case of malaria, the standing water gives off the bad air. It …show more content…
In the 1850’s the city of London, implemented its miasmatic solution, the Chadwick’s plan. This plan called for building a new sewer system (Lecture 9) to deal with the bad air. This worked and effectively diminished deaths, even though the solution dealt with Miasmatic conditions, which is now accepted not to be the cause of cholera, the solution unknowingly dealt with the actual cause of the disease, the 1883 discovered Cholera bacillus (Lecture 9), by sanitizing water. The colonial authorities dealt with the bad air of standing water by implementation of improved ventilation in the buildings, building on higher altitude to allow for runoff, and dealing with sewage (Lecture …show more content…
And thus, it became quite apparent that the existence of a contagion being the cause was a "threat to social stability" (Hays140). Some diseases actually became associated with specific classes, specifically there became an "associat[ion of] pulmonary tuberculosis with the upper and middle reaches of society" (Hays 157), due to the lethargic lifestyle that consumption provided. Meanwhile people suffering from Hansen 's disease became labeled as lower citizens and were even forcible removed from society in the case of the Hawaii plan (Lecture 11). Even as it became more apparent that diseases were caused by contagions, many held on to the old doctrine, be it for acceptance of Miasma theory, the lack of new solutions generated by contagion theory, and how contagion theory went against social hierarchy. And thus, It can be seen as with the transition from miasma to contagion theory there was no simple transition, just as there was no simple transition between Humoral medicine to chemical medicine, and no simple transition between chemical and miasma theory. Each transition is gradual and there exists resistance to the new

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