EXHIBIT: When Cholera Met Its Match

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  21 Dec 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5551, pp. 2435
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5551.2435e

Whether they are stalking bioterrorists or tracing the origin of a hepatitis outbreak, today's epidemiologists stand on the shoulders of John Snow (1813–1858), the English anesthesiologist whose methodical investigations showed that cholera spreads through polluted water. Reserved, fastidious, and determined, Snow comes alive at this site curated by epidemiologist Ralph Frerichs of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Follow Snow's life and illustrious career (he was the first doctor to use anesthetic on Queen Victoria) with several biographical sketches, memoirs from friends, maps, book extracts, and slide shows. You can also read the full text of his 1855 treatise On the Mode of Communication of Cholera, a model of epidemiological detective work that included Snow's map of cholera cases in the Soho district of London. The coffin-shaped rectangles marking cholera deaths clustered around the infamous Broad Street pump, which supplied drinking water for the victims and, Snow realized, was the source of the gut-wrenching bacteria.

For more on epidemiology, Frerichs's linked site on bioterrorism features a case-by-case rundown of the recent anthrax outbreak. And his HIV Controversies page includes discussions of contentious HIV-control strategies such as widespread testing and partner notification.


Navigate This Article