A History of Quarantines


source: NPR

China is building a quarantine center on the outskirts of the city of Wuhan, where a newly identified virus has infected many hundreds of residents.

The idea of putting a possibly sick person in quarantine goes back to the ancient texts. The book of Leviticus tells how to quarantine people with leprosy. Hippocrates covered the issue in a three-volume set on epidemics, though he came from a time in ancient Greece when disease was thought to spread from “miasmas,” or foul-smelling gas that came out of the ground.

With this new quarantine effort in the news, we offer a look at quarantine use — and abuse — over the ages.

Bubonic plague in Venice (1370)

Yellow fever in Philadelphia (1793)

Typhus in New York (1892)

Bubonic plague in San Francisco (1900)

Typhoid in New York City (1907)

Venereal disease in the United States (1917)

Flu epidemic in Europe and U.S. (1917-1919)

SARS in Canada (2003)

Bubonic plague in China (2014)

Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone (2014)




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