Happenings During the Reign of William IV: Asiatic Cholera Pandemic

12 February – Second cholera pandemic begins to spread in London, starting from East London. It is declared officially over in early May but deaths continue. It will claim at least 3000 victims. In Liverpool, Kitty Wilkinson becomes the “Saint of the Slums” by promoting hygiene.

Hand bill from the New York City Board of Health, 1832. The outdated public health advice demonstrates the lack of understanding of the disease and its causes.

Hand bill from the New York City Board of Health, 1832. The outdated public health advice demonstrates the lack of understanding of the disease and its causes.

The second cholera pandemic (1829-1849), also known as the Asiatic Cholera Pandemic, was a cholera pandemic that reached from India to Europe, Great Britain and the Americas.

History
This pandemic began, like the first, with outbreaks along the Ganges River delta in India. From there the disease spread along trade routes to cover most of India. By 1828 the disease had traveled to China and reached the southern tips of the Ural Mountains in 1829. It reached England in December 1831: appearing in Sunderland, Gateshead and Newcastle. In London, the disease claimed 6,536 victims; in Paris, 20,000 died (out of a population of 650,000), with about 100,000 deaths in all of France. In 1832 the epidemic reached Russia, Quebec, Ontario, Detroit and New York. It reached the Pacific coast of North America between 1832 and 1834.

Legacy
Norwegian Poet Henrik Wergeland wrote a stage-play inspired by the pandemic, which had reached Norway. In The Indian Cholera, he criticized British colonialism for spreading the pandemic.

As a result of the epidemic, the medical community developed a major advance, the intravenous saline drip. It was developed from the work of Dr Thomas Latta of Leith, near Edinburgh. Latta established from blood studies that a saline drip greatly improved the condition of patients and saved many lives by preventing dehydration. But, he was one of the many medical personnel who died in the epidemic.

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About reginajeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and contemporary novels.
This entry was posted in British history, real life tales, William IV and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Happenings During the Reign of William IV: Asiatic Cholera Pandemic

  1. Candia says:

    My great great grandfathers x 5 or 6, father and son, died within 24 hours of each other in September 1831. I have often thought that it might have been owing to cholera. Both were involved in shipping and trade on the Clyde.

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