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Title: Asiatic cholera and the development of public health in Belfast 1832-1878
Author: Farrell , Nigel Sean
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 3621
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2014
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Prior to the development of modern epidemiological and laboratory medicine in the latter part of the nineteenth century infectious disease was a characteristic feature of everyday life in Ireland. A number of diseases, including, fever, tuberculosis, dysentery and cholera often escalated into serious epidemic outbreaks. Not only did such diseases demonstrate the significance of the absence of a comprehensive medical understanding of disease aetiology, dissemination and treatment, they also served to highlight the problems of health, hygiene and sanitation particularly in the industrialising world. Above all however, Asiatic cholera stands out by the extent to which it engendered public panic and by the manner in which it focused the attention of medical men, legislators and the general public towards tackling the inadequacies of public health provision. While it may not have had the demographic impact of 'fever' or other illnesses, the fight against cholera can therefore be said to have been instrumental in changing centuries old attitudes regarding sanitation and hygiene. As the predominant focus of previous studies of cholera in Ireland have been the outbreaks of 1831/3 and 1848/9, with less regard given to its later outbreaks, the following thesis makes a unique contribution to Irish medical and social history by examining the impact of cholera's four major nineteenth century epidemics and their influence on the development of public health provision in Belfast until the period before the introduction of the 'Public Health (Ireland) Act' in 1878. In doing so this thesis will add significantly to our knowledge regarding cholera and the progress of public health in Ulster particularly the influence of cholera's hitherto under researched epidemics in the latter half of the nineteenth century. There are a number of important reasons for such a case study, not least because Belfast was the first town in Ireland to be afflicted by cholera in three out of the four epidemics experienced between 1832 and 1866. It is also a period which is distinct not only in terms of the development of Belfast's political, social, moral and industrial development, but it is also one during which diseases like cholera serve to highlight the successes and inadequacies of developing public health provision.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available