Encyclopedia of plague and pestilence : from ancient times by George C. Kohn

By George C. Kohn

Tracing the background of infectious ailments from the Philistine plague of eleventh century BCE to contemporary SARS and avian flu scares, this encyclopedia is a entire A-Z reference delivering overseas insurance of this well timed and engaging topic

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Of the 90,000 pilgrims gathered in Mecca, at least 30,000 were struck by cholera either there or in nearby Jedda (Jidda) in western Arabia. Returning home, the Muslim pilgrims spread the disease throughout the Arabian Peninsula, to Iraq (Mesopotamia), Syria, Palestine, and across the Red Sea to Suez and Alexandria in Egypt. From Alexandria, cholera was transported by refugees all over Egypt, and much Mediterranean traffic and trade ensured its entry into the seaports of Istanbul (July 1865), Smyrna (Izmir), Ancona, and Marseille.

Russia was again struck in 1867 but not as severely. The Scandinavian region (except Sweden, which had 4,503 deaths) escaped serious infection in 1866. Germany endured terrible losses (about 115,000 deaths in Prussia alone) as did Austria (80,000 deaths), Hungary (30,000 deaths), the Netherlands (20,000 deaths), and Belgium (30,000 deaths). Cholera also broke out in Italy in 1866 and the next year was devastating; a series of epidemics, including one in Sardinia, brought the Italian death toll for 1867 to 130,000.

Most of Europe, including areas affected in 1849, was once again infected. For the first time, Sweden and Denmark and the Maltese and Ionian islands were affected. Mainland Greece remained untouched, as in 1837. Also in 1850, cholera reached California overland and by sea (from Panama). In South America, Colombia and parts of Ecuador were infected. Cuba and Jamaica suffered severely in 1850 and 1851. From Cuba, cholera was transported to Grand Canary Island in May 1851, where it caused 9,000 human deaths in a very short period.

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