Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sympathy Saturday: The typhus epidemic of 1848

1848 was not a great year to be in Silesia. There was a massive typhus epidemic.

This typhus was actually probably typhoid fever. They are both caused by bacteria, though different strains. They are uncommon today in the developed world because of antibiotics like penicillin.

Here is a parish register page from 1848 in Trojanovice. Note how many people died from typhus!

Here is the best resource I have found to help determine old causes of death, especially those written in German: Rudy's List of Archaic Medical Terms, or Antiquus Morbus.

Here's the fascinating Report on the Typhus Epidemic in Upper Silesia written in 1849 by Dr. Rudolf Carl Virchow.

I am grateful to live in a world with antibiotics.

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