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Rabies at Bay: ‘The Dog Days’, 1831–1863

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Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Part of the book series: Science, Technology and Medicine in Modern History ((STMMH))

Abstract

Between 1830 and 1860 rabies was overshadowed by wider problems in pubic health and public order. Public health became dominated by zymotic diseases, especially epidemic diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, scarlet fever, and typhus, which contemporaries understood to be mostly generated by filth and malign conditions, and to be spread by aerial miasmas.1 Hydrophobia was classed as a zymotic disease, though like syphilis spread by contact contagion. The fight against epidemics was led by so-called sanitarians who emphasised aerial transmission of disease poisons and focused on the physical environment, principally the water supply, sewage, and nuisance removal; in their view few important diseases seemed to be spread by direct contagion.2 Public order became political order, first in the reform crisis of 1830–1832, then in the introduction of the New Poor Law, and then the Chartist campaigns, which seemed to some contemporaries to threaten revolution.

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Notes

  1. On zymotic diseases see M. Worboys, Spreading Germs: Disease Theories and Medical Practice in Britain, 1865–1900, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000, 34–42.

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© 2007 Neil Pemberton and Michael Worboys

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Pemberton, N., Worboys, M. (2007). Rabies at Bay: ‘The Dog Days’, 1831–1863. In: Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Science, Technology and Medicine in Modern History. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230589544_3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230589544_3

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-35998-1

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-230-58954-4

  • eBook Packages: Palgrave History CollectionHistory (R0)

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