This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
"The result of an inquiry suggested by the Board of Health into the effects of the consumption of impure water during the second and third Cholera epidemics was favorable to Dr. Snow's theory; and Mr. Simon reported that the population drinking dirty water appeared to have suffered 3 1/2 times as much mortality as the population drinking other water.
"The epidemic of 1865-66 has illustrated in a very remarkable way the soundness of Dr. Snow's theory. The disorder first showed itself here in the autumn of 1865, as usual at a seaport, Southampton. Then, as usual, it slept apparently for a while, to reappear and diffuse itself, after fresh importations from the continent, and at its customary rate of increase, in the spring and summer of 1866; when in the middle of July, there occurred in the Eastern part of London, an increase of the disorder so sudden, vast and rapid, as to warrant its being spoken of as an explosion. This outburst was limited to a certain definite and remarkable area, the line of limitation being confined, not to soils but to houses. It was contemporaneous over that area, and stopped short abruptly within and along the line of limitation. It had a week's duration only.
"This strange and definite outbreak must have had some definite and adequate cause, and upon careful search there was found evidence that this local calamity was produced by the temporary distribution to the houses in question of unfiltered and infected water from certain reservoirs of the East London Water Company.
"With respect to the propagation of the disease, Mr. Simon uses this strong language: ' It cannot be too distinctly understood that the person who contracts Cholera in this country is ipso facto demonstrated with almost absolute certainty to have been exposed to excremental pollution. Excrement-sodden earth, excrement-reeking air, excrement-tainted water,-these are for us the causes of Cholera.'
"He adds: ' The local conditions of safety are, above all, these two: First, that by appropriate structural works, all the excremental produce of the population shall be so promptly and so thoroughly removed, that the inhabited place, in its air and soil, shall be absolutely without fecal impurities; and secondly, that the water supply of the population shall be derived from such sources, and conveyed in such channels, that its contamination by excrement is impossible' and he concludes with the pious hope that ' for a population to be poisoned by its own excrement will some day be deemed ignominious and intolerable.'
If these conclusions are correct, it is not surprising that .Canada should suffer as she does, not only from Cholera, but from Diarrhoea, Dysentery, and particularly from Typhoid Fever; as from one end of the country to the other, from the East to the West, and from the North to the South, they drain all the filth of the Towns and Villages into the lakes and the rivers,-and then they drink it. They throw their dead horses, dead dogs, dead cats, and other carrion, into the lakes and the rivers,-and then they drink it. They wash themselves and their clothes in the water of the lakes and the rivers,-and then they drink it.
"The facts, says Dr. H. Hartshorne, of the general history of epidemic Cholera in the United States have been essentially the same as those referred to above, as recorded during its visitations in Europe. In the Massachusetts State prison, two hundred and five were attacked within forty-eight hours.
"Atmospheric transmission is the only rational explanation of outbreaks of Cholera on board of vessels in mid-ocean, coming from places where the disease did not exist when they left them. Two well-established instances of this were those of the New York and the Swanton; in 1848 these vessels, leaving Havre at a time when there was no Cholera at that port, one was attacked when sixteen, and the other twenty-seven days out at sea. In 1854, Dr. Hartshorne says he had direct cognizance of similar occurrences in the packet-ships Tonawanda and Tuscarora, sailing between Liverpool and Philadelphia. The first was attacked when two weeks at sea, there being no Cholera at Liverpool when she started. After a number of days' prevalence of the disease, this vessel neared a large iceberg, which reduced the temperature of the air 30 degrees. The day before the iceberg was met, the largest number of cases occurred; after that, no new cases at all. In 1866, a number of like examples of mid-ocean attacks of Cholera on shipboard became known. Among the most remarkable was that of the England, referred to above. The history of that vessel illustrated most painfully the effects of the quarantine system. During its voyage from forty to fifty steerage passengers, out of a total on board of twelve hundred and two, died of Cholera. Arriving near Halifax, all were detained at quarantine; and, before they were released, one hundred and fifty-nine were victims of the disease. Yet it showed so little contagious property, that every one of these cases occurred among the steerage passengers; none in the saloon. At Halifax, according to American accounts, no case occurred, except that of a physician who went on board of the England, and those of the two pilots mentioned on a previous page.
"Quarantine, as usually defined and practiced, is powerless to protect any place against Cholera. ' It is a fact, said Dr. Alison, in 1854, that Cholera has made its way, not uniformly, but very generally, in spite of cordons and quarantine regulations.1
Dr. Gavin Milroy, a very high authority upon such subjects, published about the same time a valuable essay with this title: "The Cholera not to be arrested by quarantine." Pcttenkofer, the leading advocate of the theory of its propagation by means of discharges from the bowels, announces his conviction that local sanitary measures are much more reliable in the prevention of Cholera, than quarantine. Sir William Jenner has expressed the same opinion.