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"WMS: Snow on contagion and typhus"

(3 March 1838)

At the regular weekly meeting, there was a discussion of puerperal fever, which seemed unusually prevalent at the time. Some argued that atmospheric conditions explained this situation, others that constitutional variations was the cause. Mr. Thurnam described a recent situation at the Westminster Hospital, concluding that "All these cases had occurred during the prevalence of a north-east wind, and the patients affected occupied one ward, which fact might tend in some way to strengthen the doctrine of contagion in some minds."

The next speaker, "Mr. Snow believed that typhus fever was contagious, and related a case in which a servant girl was attacked with the disease, and sent home, a distance of many miles; there had been no typhus fever in the place; the whole of her family suffered from the complaint, and several of the members died" (868).

"Westminster Medical Society." Lancet 1 (1837-38): 867-69.

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