John Snow, a British doctor in the mid-1880s, sought to find out the actual cause of cholera. He, however, experienced challenges in so doing since he was unable to convince other doctors that cholera spread by the consumption of contaminated water (Golzari, Khan, Dabbagh, Kavandi, Mahmoodpoor, Sabermarouf and Ghabili, 2015).To him, this was very justified since six hundred and sixteen deaths were reported in 1854 after people consumed contaminated water from a well. The contamination was as a result of a woman washing her baby’s diapers from the same well. He performed an analysis of cholera cases distribution in 1848 relating to the cleanliness and purity of water supply in London (Golzari et al., 2015). The ‘Broad Street’ epidemic, however, tasted his hypothesis of cholera being as a result of consuming contaminated water in 1854 where still they did not believe him. Henry Whitehead, a father of an England church, believed that cholera was as a result of God’s divine intervention. Being one of the non-believers of Snow’s theory on the actual cause of cholera, he chose to repeat Snow’s analysis. Whitehead was able to discover approximately seven hundred deaths within a close range of proximity (Golzari et al., 2015). He discovered the deaths were as a result of using water from Broad Street. He, therefore, accepted Snow’s argument and this changed analysis the world for the better. Snow to date is known as ‘The father of epidemiology.’
Snow’s work has played a significant role in epidemiology. Together with Henry Whitehead, their analysis has changed the world in various ways. First of all, it was well established that cholera results from contamination in food or water. Contaminants can include sewage discharge in water, improper food operation methods among others. Therefore people all over the world are being made aware of the hygienic processes to practice. People receive education on the various contaminants that are in the environment as well as their adverse effects. Having well established that Cholera is a contaminant disease, public awareness programs have been developed to create more understanding of the epidemic. The World Health Organization has imposed strict rules on environmental as well as personal hygiene. Public awareness through advertisements has made people more vigilant when it comes to protecting water bodies such as dams and wells. As a result of Snow’s and Whitehead’s work, knowledge has diversified, and epidemiological studies are now being carried out in schools. Children in their tender ages can wash their hands before handling food. People engage in various day to day activities that may bring about dirt and contamination. Knowledge has brought about awareness. All these practices are carried out in pursuit of avoiding contamination.
Secondly, medical practitioners have also been able to come up with ways to curb and treat cholera from Snow’s and Whitehead’s work. Various companies have been able to manufacture products that are used to prevent contamination. They range from hand sanitizers, hand washing soaps as well as water treatment chemicals. Examples include brands like Detol products, Safeguard used in water treatment among others. These are products recommended on the markets by certified medical practitioners. Here we see John Snow’s and Henry Whitehead’s ideas coming in handy. Were it not for their research analysis; modern-day medics would not have had a view of the effects of contaminants on human life.
In conclusion, as a result of the research carried out by John Snow and Henry Whitehead, the present day world has changed for the better. This is because cholera has been made public and that it arises from contamination of food and water brought about by dirt and contaminants. Snow and thanks to him discovered the whole idea of contamination there is now sufficient knowledge all around the world that educates on hygiene.
Golzari, S. E., Khan, Z. H., Dabbagh, A., Kavandi, H., Mahmoodpoor, A., Sabermarouf, B., … & Ghabili, K. (2015). A Review on John Snow’s (1813-1858 CE) Contributions to the Epidemiology and Anesthesiology. Advances in Bioscience and Clinical Medicine, 3(4), 5-10.
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