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The 19th century sanitary revolution arose from Snow's discovery, reinforced by the work of others: William Farr, physician and vital statistician, the first Compiler of Abstracts in the newly created office of the English Registrar General; the bacteriologists, Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch; the pathologist-sanitarian Rudolph Virchow; the social reformers and early public health specialists, Edwin Chadwick, Lemuel Shattuck, John Simon, soon battalions of others. Human settlements were the seedbed for civilizations, but in the absence of adequate hygiene and sanitation, they were hotbeds of pestilence and disease too. The 19th century cities were dangerous places, rife with disease and premature death. More than a quarter of all babies born alive were dead within a year, half were dead before they were old enough to have children of their own. They died of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections: cholera, typhoid, infant diarrhea, diphtheria, croup, measles, pneumonia, tuberculosis.
Slide author: John Last, Canada
*Note: sanitary revolution refers to changes in public health practices that took place in North America and Europe at the end of 19th century