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"Epitome of sanitary literature [Pinkerton & Lankester]"

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Sanitary Review and Journal of Public Health
(1858): 138-39

PDF from photocopy, courtesy of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

The editors summarized the argument made by A. W. P. Pinkerton. M.D., in a book on his observations during the Crimean War. His is a contingent contagionist argument that cholera has characteristics of both an infectious contagion and a classic epidemic: "Cholera spreads to any considerable distance -- beyond five hundred yards -- by personal communication, not by the atmosphere" (138). The cholera poison may also lie dormant for long periods, and where it does so, taxing circumstances cause susceptible individuals to fall ill at a later time.

The editors offer an extract from an article by Edwin Lankester on London metropolis drinking water. The editors then summarize Lankester's conclusion that whereas water from deep wells is fine, "the water from surface wells ought, under no circumstances, to be drunk at all; and that if Thames water is used, it ought to be filtered, or, what is better, boiled and filtered" (139).

Lankester had been the driving force behind the creation of the parish cholera inquiry committee in St. James, Westminster which found that water from the Broad Street pump was the likely source of the 1854 outbreak there.

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