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Epidemiology: A Timeline

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Amanda Elliott

on 12 January 2014

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Transcript of Epidemiology: A Timeline

500 BC
Epidemiology: A Timeline
Hippocrates (500 BC)
• Hippocrates (460 BC-380 BC) was the founder of Western medicine. He manifested an amazingly modern perspective in his treatise entitled On Airs, Waters, and Places that was published in the fifth century.
• Father of medicine
• First epidemiologist—sought a logic in sickness
• First known person to examine the relationship between disease and environment
• Believed sickness was caused by an unbalance in water, fire, air, and earth atoms
• Coined term “epidemic”

John Graunt (1620-1674)
• The period saw an increased understanding of the need to collect qualitative data for the purpose of defining the state(Political Arthmetic).
• The first solid use of data collection for the purpose of understanding health status
• the father of demography and descriptive epidemiology
• By studying London death data for the previous 75 years, Graunt found certain predictability of mortality with respect to natural events and phenomenon.
• Using this data, Graunt developed the first life table.
• Descriptive epidemiology- the first stage of epidemiologic investigation. It focuses on describing disease distribution by characteristics relating to time, place, and person.

Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689)
• The first to recognize the difference in the plagues that affect London in the 1600s
• Believed that observations should drive the study of diseases
• in the middle of the 1650’s Thomas Sydenham began his exacting studies of epidemics
• * Form the basic book on fever on 1666
• * Observationes Medicae a standard textbook for two centuries on 1676
• * Presented the theory of an epidemic constitution, Eg. Conditions in the environment which cause the occurrence of acute diseases (1683)
• * He noted the link between fleas and typhus fever
• * Introduced opium into medical practice and was the first to use iron-deficiency anaemia
• * Treatment fever with fresh air and cooling drink was an improvement on the sweating methods previously employed
• * Moderate treatment of smallpox by using cinchona

Edward Jenner (1749-1823)
• Jenner theorized that cowpox (a much milder but similar disease to smallpox) was somehow protecting the farmers in his small community.
• Developed a vacinnation to small pox by using a small portion of extracted liquid from small pox sores
• The remarkable thing about Jenner’s discovery of vaccination, is that it came before people knew that viruses existed, or much about the immune system.
• He used his observation of case studies to fit the puzzle pieces together and start a truly lifesaving procedure (epidemiology)

Lemuel Shattuck (1793-1859)
• “Prophet of American Health”
• First to publish report on sanitation problems and public health in the United States
• Report led to public health programs and local boards of health in the United States exchange of health recommendations, sanitary inspections, and analysis of vital statistics
• Outlined basic system of public health
• Began awareness for sickness in America

Edwin Chadwick (1800-1890)
• In 1842 social reformer, Edwin Chadwick, published his landmark report,Report on the Inquiry into Sanitary Conditions of the Laboring Population of Great Britain.
• This report outlined the major public health challenges facing England at the time leading to the beginnings of reform.
• efforts produced a salutary improvement in the public health.
• The formation of the Health of Towns Association and the creation of various city-based branches followed rapidly
• These national and local movements contributed to the passing of the Public Health Act 1848.

John Snow (1813-1888)
• “father of epidemiology”
• he came to the unconventional conclusion that they might be caused by invisibly tiny parasites.
• The "germ theory" of disease had first been proposed in ancient times, and the discovery of microscopic organisms in the late 1600s had made the theory seem plausible, but no one had ever proved that miniature organisms could make people sick.
• decided to track the progress of the disease. to see if he could determine exactly how it was spread
• When cholera epidemic hit London, Snow observed patients and symptoms  the discovery that cholera was spreading through water
• Identified water pumps and used chlorine to clean water and eventually helped end the epidemic
• Major event in history of public health the founding event of the science of epidemiology

Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)
• French microbiologist who conducted experiments that supported the germ theory and effectively debunked the theory of spontaneous generation.
• His work involved the development of systems of inoculation including the first vaccine for rabies.
• He is best known, however, for his work in studies on fermenting beverages.
• He found that micro-organizisms could develop during this process.
• He invented a process in which liquids such as milk were heated to kill all bacteria and moulds. (Pasteurization)

Robert Koch (1843-1910
• German scientist was one of the founders of bacteriology.
• In the process of discovering the causes of anthrax, cholera and tuberculosis (1882-1883) he developed methods and technical procedures still used by epidemiologists.
• Koch asserted that four criteria must be fulfilled to establish a causal relationship between a parasite and a disease.
• These criteria are known as Koch’s Postulates.
• Koch was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1905.

In 1900, the United States Army Yellow Fever Commission (often called simply "The Reed Commission" after its leader, Walter Reed (1857-1902) proved that the Aedes aegypti mosquito was the vector for yellow fever.
This ended the belief that yellow fever spread by direct contact with infected people or "contaminated" objects and focused the people’s efforts on the eradication of the mosquito.
Yellow Fever Understood
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