The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson

The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern WorldThe Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic – and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson

No ghosts were harmed in the making of this book.

Cholera – a plague so bad that it had its own curse in my great-grandparent’s generation and back, kept around in folk tales. “A kuh-LAY-ruh upon you” made no sense to me, until now.

Cholera causes such bad diarrhea bad that people expel the lining of their lower intestine. They expel all water in the body until, within 8 hours or 3 days, they are a dead dried out husk. *shudder*

When the cholera came to London, “everyone knew” it was the miasma, ‘bad air’ (see also: the disease malaria, ‘bad air’) which caused it, so -of course- it would hit the poor and over-crowded first. Their sh!t stinks worse. Actually it did – because the sewer system didn’t reach everyone, and people emptied their privies into the Thames river.

Who found out that cholera spread through sh!t in the water, and how did he prove it?
Great story.

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