Epidemic Puerperal Fever in Towns

Irvine Loudon

in The Tragedy of Childbed Fever

Published in print January 2000 | ISBN: 9780198204992
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191676444 | DOI:
Epidemic Puerperal Fever in Towns

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This chapter examines the puerperal fever epidemic in English towns during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Town epidemics seem to have escaped the attention of historians. They were terrible outbreaks that arrived suddenly and without warning. Puerperal fever epidemics often began in winter or early spring and they were usually preceded by an outbreak of sepsis in various forms, including erysipelas. Some of the notable features of these epidemics include high fatality rate, frequent tendency to be limited to the patients of one or two medical practitioners of midwives, and the transmission of the disease to mothers by birth attendants.

Keywords: puerperal fever; epidemics; English towns; town epidemics; sepsis; erysipelas; disease transmission; birth attendants

Chapter.  11399 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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