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Cholera:- Characteristics - Progress - Fatality - Origin

Course in India Appears at Bombay - Ceylon China Arabia Persia Syria - Java - Russia Poland Germany- Hamburgh-England Ireland - France Canada

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The year 1832 will be long could be prescribed by medical remembered in the United States, skill, certain death must ensue unas the era of the first appear- less some relief was afforded. This ance of the Indian or spasmodic disorder, though it sometimes atcholera upon the western con- tacked its victims in the streets, tinent. This extraordinary dis- and when walking or riding, more ease, which, after having been frequently manifested itself in the subjected to the observation of night, and towards the approach the medical profession in the old of day. The person was sudand in the new world, seems denly seized with a sense of naualmost as little understood as sea and oppression, or of exhauswhen first it appeared in India, tion in the stomach, followed by had long been spoken of as one a cominotion of the bowels. This of the most formidable diseases was sometimes so instantaneous, of the Asiatic continent; and that it seemed as if he had been within a few years past, it had struck by a musket shot. A feelforced itself more particularly ing of coldness immediately perupon the attention of Christen- vaded the body, and vomiting dom, by its advance towards the and purging took place sinultanorthern portion of Europe. neously. This commotion was

The suddendess of its attack; getierally attended with pain, the shortness of its duration; its though sometimes the patient was malignancy, and the difficulty of merely exhausted. An insatiate cure; all combined to impress thirst then ensued, and a general the public mind with an unde- listlessness and languor began to fined but overwhelming appre- manifest themselves — the pulse hension of a pestilence, of which contracted, and at the same time nothing was known except that its became more rapid — the skin approach was gradual and sure, lost its natural warmth, and the and that while no effectual remedy patient began to complain of increasing rigor and of a buzzing that slowly but gradually adin the ears, and manifested great vanced from the spot of its origin drowsiness. The abdominal mus- to the centre of Europe, in spite cles were contracted, and spasms of all the precautions of governensued, more particularly affect- ments, and regardless of the rules, ing the muscles of the feet and that human wisdom had assigned the hands, but sometimes those as the laws of its communication of the body.

and progress. An unnatural perspiration ap- In some countries warmth and peared on the skin, and the tem- moisture were deemed to be the perature of the body continued causes of the epidemic; but when to sink — the voice became fee- it raged in the depth of an arctic ble, the countenance pallid, the winter, it was concluded that skin shrivelled, the eyes invested other agents must be regarded as with a livid circle, the tongue having some efficacy in its procold, the pulse tremulous, until duction. Filth, which in most the victim sunk, (with a mind cases had aggravated the severity generally tranquil and undis- of the attack, did not seem in turbed,) from the rapid exhaus- London to have produced such tion of the physical powers. - an effect. About one third of those attacked It advanced along the channels fell under the violence of the dis- of human intercourse, but no inorder, within twelve and many vestigation could discover the within four hours. The efforts mode of communication; and of the healing faculty were direct- numberless instavces were aded to restore the natural secre- duced, shewing, that it was not tions, which seemed to be totally easily communicated by any insuspended, and if that could be tercourse between man and man. accomplished, hopes were enter- The healing faculty was equally tained of the patient's recovery; at a loss, as to the means of preotherwise his fate was certain. No vention and cure. Quarantines rational opinion could be formed were generally condemned by its concerning the natural cause3 members, as futile and unnecessaof this visitation upon the human ry; and yet the appearance of race. Atlhough it originated in the disease was so invariably preHindostan, it had extended itself ceded by intercourse with places to other countries, and had raged already infected, that the almost alike in the islands of the Indian unanimous testimony of physiocean and in the interior of the cians failed to satisfy the commuAsiatic continent, until

, passing nity, that the cholera was not a over the lofty chain of the Cau- contagious disorder. The treatcasian mountains, it established ment, which at one place was itself in the heart of the Russian considered successful, was conempire. Even the frosts of a demned by subsequent experinorthern winter, which had putence as positively injurious; and an end to other plagues, although all that medical science had gained it diminished its power, did not by the appearance of the cholera destroy this pestilential miasına, in Europe, after long and close


observation, was a conviction, the interior, from the mouth of that it was a complaint which the Ganges to its confluence with had not been witnessed before; the Jumna, a space including 450 that it began, where other dis- square miles. Leaving Bengal, eases terminated in death-and the disease retired for some time that it was beyond their skill to the western bank of the Ganeither to prevent or to cure.- ges and Jumna. In its most Temperance, cleanliness and cou- malignant form it appeared at rage were recommended as the Benares, where in two months surest safeguards, and sudorifics 15,000 persons perished. as the best remedies; but all their Allahabad forty or fifty died daily. care and skill did not prevent to other locations, situated on its being a terrible scourge to either bank, the disease soon the places laying in its destined spread, and the mortality was course, por could they save but equally great. In the district of little more than half of the objects Gorrakpore, 30,000 were carried of its attack.

off in a month. Then suffered As an epidemic, this spasmodic in succession Lucknow, Cawncholera is a plague of modern or- pore, Delhi, Agra, Muttra, Meeigin. In Hindostan spasmodic rat and Bareilly. The cholera cholera has probably always ex- now directed its course across the isted, as a comparatively mild Deccan, advancing in many indisease, affecting at certain sea- stances at the rate of fifteen or sons a small number of individu- eighteen miles a day, and remainals in various parts of the country. ing at various posts during a peBut there is no evidence to show riod of from two to six weeks. that it ever bore the epidemic In this way it reached Husseinacharacter, previous to the begin- bad, where the mortality was ning of August, 1817, when it frightful for several days. It then suddenly broke out with unprece- followed the banks of the Nerdented malignity. Commencing buddah to Tanah, and afterwards among the inhabitants of Jessore, traversed to Aurungabad, and a town 100 miles northeast of Poonah. Taking the direction, Calcutta, in less than a month it of the coast, it arrived at Bomtravelled along the course of the bay, August, 1818, having crossed river to that city, having desolated the Indian peninsula in twelve the intervening villages. Before months from the date of its apthe expiration of August, the na- pearance in Calcutta. tive population of Calcutta were While the interior of Hindostan attacked, and early in September was submitting to this infliction, the disease was also manifested the pestilence had spread along among the Europeans.

the coast of Malabar and CoroFrom January to May, 1818, mandel, reaching Madras the the pestilence raged with extreme 8th of October. In its progress violence, extending its destructive here, a new and alarming feature influence across Bengal, from was developed. The possibility Silhet to Cuttack; and towards of transporting the contagion by sea, was evinced in its transit from rope ; and the route by which at Coromandel to the island of Cey- last it was enabled to traverse the lon. In Candia, the capital, it Russian empire. In July, 1821, broke out December, 1818, with through the intercourse maintaineven greater violence than upon ed by ships trading between Bomthe continent. By the 15th bay and Muscat, in Arabia, the September, 1819, Mauritius was contagion was exported to the included in the islands infected. latter. Here the disease destroyThe disease did not appear until ed 60,000 persons. Many exafter the arrival of the Topaz pired ten minutes after the infecfrigate from Ceylon, where the tion. The cholera now spread epidemic was then raging. The to different parts of the Persian vessel at the time of sailing seem- gulf - to Busheer and Bassora. ed healthy, but during the pass- From the Persian gulf the age the cholera bad appeared cholera extended, inland, in two among the crew. In the adjacent directions, following the line of island of Bourbon, the disease commercial intercourse. On one began early in December, 1819. hand it ascended the Euphrates, During the last six months of traversing Mesopotamia, into Sy1819, the cholera, pursuing its ria ; and the Tigris, from Bassoroute to the south and east, had ra to Bagdad; on the other, the also invaded the Indo-Chinese disease was propagated into Perpeninsula. Siam received more sia. In the city of Shiraz, the than a proportional share of mis- population of which is 40,000, fortune. The contagion marched there died 16,000 in the first on to Malaga and Singapore. few days. Extending through By the end of April, it was an- Persia, the pestilence visited nounced on the northern coast of several districts in the north and Java. During May it extended south of the kingdom. Ispahan with violence in the interior of escaped - the caravans from this island. Cochin-China and Shiraz being prohibited from Tonquin were invaded in 1820. entering the city. The route In December of the same year, that was substituted, lay through it entered China, beginning its Yezd. This town paid dearly ravages at Canton. Pekio ad- for the visitation, as 7000 permitted the enemy in 1821, and sons were afterwards swept away during that and the following by the cholera. During the year, the mortality was so enor- succeeding winter, the pestilence mous, that coffins and other fu- became dormant, both in Perneral requisites were necessarily sia and Syria. In the spring of furnished at the expense of the 1822, the Syrian and Persian public treasury, for the interment streams of contagion had their of the poorer classes.

frozen energies restored to activiWe shall now describe the ty. They quickly spread in their course, which the epidemic_took primitive vigor: Mosul, Beri, to the north and west from Bom- Achtab and Aleppo were insectbay, towards the confines of Eu- ed. In Persia, during Septem


ber, the disease spread to the The contagion, however, was northward of Teheran, throughout again resuscitated towards the all Kurdistan and Tauris. lo the middle of June 1830, in the provspring and autumn of 1823, Di- inces of Mazanderan and Shirarbekr and Antioch

at- van, upon the southern shore of tacked, and the disease ravaged the Caspian sea. From the latmany of the towns along the Asi- ter it passed through the town of atic side of the Mediterranean. Taurus and destroyed five thouIt also extended in an opposite sand of its inhabitants. Crossing course, attaining in the month of the Russian frontier it rapidly August, Baku, upon the borders advanced towards the interior. of the Caspian Sea. At length, The eighth of August it entered in September, it reached the Tiflis. The population was soon Russian city of Astracan, at the diminished from thirty thousand mouth of the Volga. It first to eight thousand, by deaths and broke out in the marine hospital. migration to avoid the distemFrom the 25th of September to per. In the meantime, by the the 9th of October, there died first of July the malady had 144 patients, nearly two thirds of reached Astracan. The contaall who had been attacked. Vig- gion, in penetrating to the heart orous measures were enforced of the Russian empire, from Asby the authorities for checking tracan, pursued the course of ihe the contagion, but it continued to Volga, which spread its navigable manifest itself until the severity waters over the most populous of winter bad set in. During provinces. Considerable havoc the ensuing summer it did not was made among the Cossacks return.

of the Don. The capitals of the In 1822 it re-appeared in Java, several districts, between that, and carried off 100,000 people. and Moscow were ravaged in After visiting Ternat, Celebes succession. In that city the apand Banda, in 1823 it first pearance of the destroyer was anreached Amboyna. Afterwards nounced the twentyeighth of Sepit committed great havoc in Ti- tember, — having travelled from mor. For several years the Astracan, a distance of 900 miles, cholera pursued its destructive in less than three months. In course through China. After Moscow energetic measures were desolating several cities in Mon- instantly instituted by the governgolia it reached the frontiers of ment, to afford every

assistance Siberia at the end of the year to the sick and to oppose the 1826.

progress of the malady. By After the first invasion Per- the tenth of November 6506 sia had several returns of chol- were returned, and the era. In October 1829, a very deaths amounted to 2908, or serious inroad commenced in more than a half. In this place Teheran, the royal residence. it seemed to take up its quarBut the occurrence of winter ters for the winter, and issuing stopped its progress for the time. thence in the spring of 1831,


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