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Diseases during 18th century Britain Essay

During the 18th century in Britain, rural areas became more efficient in agriculture, leaving many people living in these areas without work. They moved into the cities in search of work as there there were may new and growing industries. Between 1760 and 1870 the population of Britain doubled, causing many problems throughout these industrial cities.

Disease accounted for many deaths in industrial cities during the industrial revoloution. Diseases such as typhus, cholera and tuberculosis spread rapidly mainly due to a lack of hygiene and their lack of knowledge about the diseases and how to cure them. As cities became more and more crowded, the diseases spread throughout the rising population.

There were many diseases amongst the British (particularly lower classes but also some of the upper class) between 1760 and 1870, due to their poor living conditions and poor hygiene. These diseases included Typhus, Influenza, Pneumonia and Tuberculosis. One particularly bad disease amongst the British was Cholera. Cholera is an intestinal infection, which spread throughout the industrial cities through their water supply, as it was poorly kept – sewage was being allowed to come into contact with drinking water and contaminating it. The symptoms of cholera include diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pains and severe dehydration. The disease usually affected those in a city’s poorer areas, though the rich did not escape this disease.

Typhoid and typhus were as feared as cholera. Both were also quite common in the Industrial Revolution. Typhus/Typhoid is a disease which causes headache, backache, fever, a rash of small red dots, joint stiffness, abdominal pain, a dry cough and vomiting. Typhoid was caused by infected water whereas typhus was carried by lice. Both of these were extremely common in industrial cities, as these diseases are more likely spread in places which are less sanitary, and as the people living in the cities had an extreme lack of hygiene they were greatly targeted by these diseases.

Tuberculosis is a disease that attacks the lungs and causes them to deteriorate. People were affected with tuberculosis due to being poorly orĀ under fed, and the obvious symptom was a cough that developed over weeks or month becoming more and more severe. Once someone has the disease if they cough another person can inhale their germs and also be infected with the disease, so the disease was so easily and rapidly spread, which is the reason tuberculosis was the main reason for death in industrial cities in Britain during these times.

Edwin Chadwick, who was the government official in Britain, received an assignment from the Prime minister at the time (1832), Earl Grey, to investigate the poor laws in Britain. Edwin saw the poor conditions in the industrial cities and contributed greatly to the report on the sanitary conditions of labouring classes. In this report was stated that the great spread of disease had a great connection to the overcrowding and filthiness of the cities. As a result of this, the poor law amendment act was passed. The act put together a general board of health to look after the sanitation in Britain’s towns. The board made many improvements, by building sewers and supplying running water to houses, and disease began to reduce amongst the cities, as sources the diseases were carried around in earlier years had been improved on.

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