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date: 19 July 2019

Contagious Disease and Public Health in the American City 

Source:
The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Urban History
Author(s):
Daniel WilsonDaniel Wilson

From the first appearance of cities, contagious diseases posed a serious challenge to public health. Most of the early cities in European colonies were seaports and centers of trade and commerce. Ships brought people and cargo as well as contagious diseases including smallpox, yellow fever, and cholera. City health authorities responded in different ways as the cities grew, as medical understanding of contagious disease improved, and as medical science provided new weapons in the effort to prevent and cure infectious disease. Three broad approaches to the problem of contagious disease have marked the urban response to contagion. Quarantines to prevent the spread of disease dominated public health from the early colonial period until the early ... ...

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