There were various diseases in the 1800’s that killed thousands of people. Although they might not be around today, they killed many people. We still feel the affects of their deaths today. These diseases taught doctors how to treat these diseases.
They also helped doctors figure out how to prevent these diseases from killing people today. Cholera was one of the major diseases that affected the U.S. the most. Cholera is an infection of the bowel with a great amount of watery diarrhea and vomiting, causing severe dehydration (Michigan Family). Because of the horrible sanitation conditions, this disease spread quickly through towns.
People came in contact with Cholera from drinking milk, water, or by eating food that had the Cholera disease on it (Michigan Family). Cholera reached New York Harbor in 1832 (Michigan Family). The good thing about Cholera is that it is no longer around today! Malaria is another horrible disease. Malaria is spread through mosquitoes. It travels through your bloodstream, and causes you to have chills and a horrible fever (Michigan Family). Malaria affected U.
S. veterans more than normal citizens. The veterans were bit by the infected mosquitoes when they were fighting. Many years later, they died of the disease (Michigan Family). Malaria is still around and killing people today. It may not kill as many people today as it did in the 1800’s, but it still is making people horribly sick and disabling them (Science Museum).
Americans first came into contact with Malaria in 1873, and still have to fight the disease today (Michigan Family). Diphtheria is another disease that caused many Americans in the 1800’s to suffer. The symptoms of Diphtheria are very similar to those of Scarlet Fever (Michigan Family). Diphtheria affected families more than singular people. Because cabins were so small and there wasn’t very much space, if one person in the family got the disease, everyone got sick. People who lived on there own, or they traveled a lot, they weren’t affected by the disease (Michigan Family).
All though it was a very wide spread and infectious disease, nobody knew how to prevent it. The only way that I can think of, is to expand your house, or to just not stay in one place. Move around a lot. Did you know that diphtheria is transmitted through milk? Milk was the main reason people came in contact with this disease. Typhoid Fever is the last disease that nearly every American in the 1800’s came in contact with at some point. Typhoid fever is an infectious disease caused by Salmonella Typhi (Medical News).
Because of this disease, nearly 100,000 Americans died in the 1800’s (News Medical). This disease didn’t just harm adults, but it also killed many children and babies. Typhoid Fever is still around and killing people today. This wasn’t just a one time disease, no it is much more than that. This disease is fatal.
Since it comes from the food we eat, we are at risk of developing Typhoid Fever every day of the week. Back in the 1800’s, they didn’t have the vaccinations and medicines that we have today. When they came down with this disease, they were “dead meat” so to speak. Nowadays, we have high tech medicines to treat diseases such as this. Today, Americans have a greater chance of survival when it comes to Typhoid Fever.
When doctors in the 1800’s wanted to research how to perform different surgeries, they would use Cadaver Bodies. Cadaver bodies are bodies of dead people that are used for medical research or teaching. Many of these bodies were the bodies of those who were infected with one, if not ALL of these diseases. When they died, the disease did NOT die with them. It was quite the opposite.
The disease killed you and still lived on after you died. When the bodies were dug up and taken to the doctor(s), the disease went with them. When the doctor(s) cut open the body, the disease was passed on to them, and they didn’t even have to eat anything that had the bacteria on it. This still happens today. It may not happen with dead people, but it sure does happen with dead animals.
If an animal has a disease and you poke it with a stick, it may explode. If it doesn’t explode, then there is probably gas leaking out of the animal carcass. The gas leaking out may be toxic to us humans. The disease would then be airborne. If it doesn’t affect you, then it might affect your pet. A great example of the diseases spreading through dead bodies would be graveyards at insane asylums.
If someone died of a disease that was contagious, they would bury them deep into the ground. As time goes on, the disease still lived in the box. Once the boxes were dug up, they diseases spread like wildfire because we aren’t immune to them. These disease affected many people. Although some of them may not affect us as bad or at all as it did in the 1800’s, they might have been around in the time of Tom Sawyer.
Typhoid Fever was around in the time of Tom. I do not know for sure if it affected him or his family, I could not find that information. I know for sure that this disease was widely spread throughout the country when Tom was around. In conclusion, Typhoid Fever, Diphtheria, Cholera, and Malaria were very fatal in the 1800’s. They killed thousands of people. If you didn’t die, you were disabled.
In my research, I found that the number of fatalities has decreased. Since we now have medicine to treat the diseases before they become too severe, we are healthy! If the Americans in the 1800’s would’ve has these medicines, they could’ve done great things. They could’ve lived longer and happier lives.