Miasma Theory of Disease Definition

Many people, especially the weak or infirm, avoided breathing the night air by entering and keeping windows and doors closed. In addition to the ideas associated with cymic theory, there was also a general fear that cold or cold air would spread disease. The fear of night air gradually disappeared as the understanding of diseases increased and the heating and ventilation of homes improved. It was particularly important to understand that the pathogen that spread malaria was the mosquito (active at night) and not the miasmas. [22] [23] Although the science of the subject was debated until the late nineteenth century, the practical application of health care reform was promoted by both theories. Increasing attention has been paid to sanitation and water security, and waste disposal through organized municipal activities has been introduced in European and North American cities. The sanitary revolution progressed as debates raged and solid scientific evidence for germ theory accumulated, especially in the 1880s. Fear of cholera prompted New York City to create a Department of Health in 1866. In the city of Hamburg, a health department was founded in 1892 only after a cholera epidemic, while the nearby town of Altona remained cholera-free because it had built a water filtration system. Most of the evidence and literature on the generation and coexistence of different species from Darwin`s (1859) original observations focused on eukaryotes whose phenotypes are relatively easy to identify and count (Dykhuizen 1990; Hubbell, 2001). However, studies of diversity in prokaryotes have provided information about the process and its outcomes that would otherwise be difficult, if not impossible, to acquire (Dykhuizen et al.

2009; Feldgarden et al., 2003; O`Malley, 2014). When grown on artificial solid culture media, many bacteria form visible colonies that acquire phenotypic characteristics such as size, shape, color, texture and odor. Historically, bacteriologists have relied on colony morphology and its heuristic associations with desirable functions such as fermentation or adverse effects such as disease causality as the fundamental basis of bacterial systematics. At the beginning of the 19th century, living conditions in Britain`s industrialized cities became increasingly unhygienic. The population grew much faster than the infrastructure could handle. For example, Manchester`s population has doubled in a single decade, leading to overcrowding and a significant increase in garbage accumulation. [24] The disease miasma theory made sense to mid-19th century health reformers. Miasmas explained why cholera and other diseases were epidemic in places where water stagnated and smelled. A prominent health reformer, Edwin Chadwick of London, claimed that “every smell is a disease”, saying that a fundamental change in the structure of sanitation systems was needed to combat the rising urban death rate.

Looking at this first theory, it is not difficult to imagine that these early scientists, separated by thousands of miles and sometimes thousands of years, come to the same conclusion after observing diseases occurring near dirty water, waste, rotting food or decaying animals. They were definitely on the right track. All they needed was data and further examination. How can Koch`s postulates be applied to chronic diseases? British epidemiologist and statistician Sir Austin Bradford Hill has provided convincing evidence of the link between smoking and lung cancer incidence [5]. Hill discussed the link between smoking as a cause and lung cancer as an effect. Hill provided sound logical and statistical support for epidemiological concepts. He discussed the fundamental difference between association and causality, which provided a framework for assessing the cause-and-effect relationships of various diseases [6]. The concept of miasma developed in several stages.

First, before the Western Jin Dynasty, the concept of miasma gradually emerged; at least there was no description of miasma in the Eastern Han Dynasty. During Eastern Jin, a large number of people moved from north to south, and miasmas were later recognized by men with letters and nobility. After the Sui and Tang dynasties, learned bureaucrats sent as local officials recorded and examined miasmas. As a result, the government has been concerned about severe cases and causes of miasmas by sending doctors to areas of the epidemic to research the disease and cure patients. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, versions of local chronicles speak of different miasmas in different places. [16] The importance of personal hygiene for health should not be underestimated. According to Curtis (2007), hygiene can be defined as “the set of behaviours used to prevent infection” (p. 660). Curtis believes that most animals exhibit hygiene behaviors that have an ancient evolutionary history. Certainly, man`s personal cleanliness is older than recorded history. It may be believed that water has been used over millennia to cleanse the body of obvious signs of dirt, and it is now known that washing with water reduces the risk of infection with microorganisms. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans bathed regularly, although cleaning the body with soap does not seem to be common until much later.

The first recorded use of soap comes from Babylon, where it was mainly used to clean animal skins. Other early soap-like compounds also appear to have been used to clean clothing, as styling products and as lotions to treat skin diseases. Similar realities also seem to apply to obvious “medical” disasters such as the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, so much in the news at the time this text was written. An essential feature of attempts to contain the disease is the physical isolation of those infected, alive and dead, from those who are not infected (Fauci, 2014; Fletcher et al., 2014; Frieden et al., 2014). Naturally, much attention is being paid to developing a cure, not least because of the social and cultural resistance of some communities to attempts by health workers to isolate those infected. But even if a cure for Ebola were found, isolation of contacts (a behavioral, social and environmental intervention), while not without formidable challenges, would still be the most effective first line of defense against the spread of the disease. Second, McKeown identified improvements in population standards for sanitation, particularly in terms of drinking water and sanitation provision. These changes were crucial to the fight against waterborne and foodborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid. Third, McKeown argued that social innovations made possible by increased wealth contributed to changes in individual behaviour and environmental conditions that helped improve the health of the population. In particular, the decline in the birth rate, combined with a decline in infant mortality, has contributed to poverty reduction and longer personal life expectancy. Improved public education and literacy have fostered continuous improvement in public and personal hygiene standards, and large-scale slum clearance and urban renewal projects have helped to eliminate sites where infectious diseases were most concentrated.

This doctrine states that cholera is spread by “pathological matter” which, when emanating from a patient during evacuation, is accidentally swallowed by others in the form of food or water pollution; whereas an increase in the swallowed germ of the disease occurs inside the stomach and intestines, which leads to the essential actions of cholera, such as, initially, local disturbance; And that “the morbid thing of cholera, which has the property of reproducing in its own way, must necessarily have some kind of structure, most probably that of a cell”. In the 1850s, miasma was used to explain the spread of cholera in London and Paris, which partially justified Haussmann`s subsequent renovation of the French capital.

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