Source 5

Extract of a letter from Central Board of Health concerning advice to be circulated to civil hospitals on the disappearance of cholera, 16 November, 1832, Catalogue ref: PC 1/114  


On the 14th day of November last year the Central Board published a circular of which the following is an extract- 

“It is with much satisfaction that the Board feel themselves authorised to declare and it will be no doubt be highly [consolatory] to the public to learn that under proper observance of cleanliness & ventilation this Disease seldom spreads in families & rarely passes to those about the sick-unless they happen to be particularly predisposed.” 

“It will not therefore be necessary where there is space & where due attention is paid to cleanliness & purification to separate members of families actually affected by the said Disease nor to isolate individual houses unless in crowded filthy badly ventilated habitations & other contingencies which involve the Health and Safety of all.” 

That it has been proved that cholera was not found to spread amongst the other patients in the public Hospitals in which some cases of that Disease were treated during the late epidemic. 

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  1. What does this letter reveal about the basic understanding of the cause of cholera and the spread of the disease? 
  2. How does the Central Board think cholera should be treated? 
  3. Can you suggest why cholera has not spread among hospital patients?