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Living and Dying in Malta During the Horrible Summer of 1837

  • Joseph GaleaEmail author
Original Paper
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Abstract

Cholera reached the Maltese Archipelago for the first time ever in June 1837. It found a poor and destitute population that was not prepared for the epidemic. Many doctors feared contagion while others believed it was contracted from bad air or miasma. The first cases of cholera in Malta broke out at a hospital for the elderly and the infirm, the Ospizio in Floriana on 9th June 1837, reached a peak in the week between 12 July to 18 July and dwindled by the end of August 1837. The epidemic saw a death toll of 4252 from 8785 registered cholera cases when the Maltese population was 120,000. Contemporary foreign residents on the islands witnessed and recorded stories of heartlessness and harshness of terrified people. This degenerative behaviour, however, did not reach the callousness of rioting and murder that were observed in other countries. Also, during this dark time, there were people who showed compassion, kindness and selfless devotion to the sick and the dying. In the chaos that reigned during that summer, the inhabitants of one small town in the north of Malta organized themselves better than the rest with good results.

Keywords

Cholera Epidemic Population Community health 

Notes

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Surgery, Medical School, Mater Dei HospitalUniversity of MaltaMsidaMalta

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