Chapter

Monocausalists, Multicausalists, and Germ Theory

Irvine Loudon

in The Tragedy of Childbed Fever

Published in print January 2000 | ISBN: 9780198204992
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191676444 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198204992.003.0008
Monocausalists, Multicausalists, and Germ Theory

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This chapter examines the impact of the discovery of bacteria on English medical authorities' view on puerperal disease during the 19th century. The arrival of germ theory intensified the debate concerning the cause of puerperal disease. There were two divisions in the debate, the monocausalists and the multicausalists. The former attributed the disease to a single cause while the latter held tenaciously to a long list of causes and to the notion that it was not a single entity but a group of different diseases.

Keywords: puerperal disease; germ theory; bacteria; England; monocausalists; multicausalists

Chapter.  9952 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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