The Earliest Spot Map of All Dr. John Snow did not draw a map until December, 1854; the first spot map was produced in September of that year by Edmund Cooper, an engineer for the Metropolitan Commission of Sewers (see map below). Cooper’s investigation resulted from public complaints linking the sewers to the cholera outbreak. Rumors […]

Dr. John Snow is credited with taking bold action when he sensed that contaminated water from the public pump on Broad Street was the cause of deadly cholera during the 1854 outbreak in London. Here is what he wrote of his legendary action on September 7, 1854. [SOURCE] HANDLE OF THE BROAD STREET PUMP “I […]

Did the index (or first) case of the Broad Street Pump outbreak live at 40 Broad Street, close to the pump? Reverend Henry Whitehead thought so after a detailed investigation of cholera cases in 1854 following the outbreak. [SOURCE] The woman living at 40 Broad Street (Sarah Lewis, wife of police constable Thomas Lewis) lost […]

During the mid-1800s, there were two major theories on the cause of cholera being debated widely in medical circles throughout London. The organism that caused cholera, Vibrio cholerae, was not yet known and would not be until 1883, twenty-five years after the death of John Snow. In that year, Robert Koch, a German physician and bacteriologist, […]

Description and Significance Vibrio cholerae is a “comma” shaped Gram-negative bacteria with a single, polar flagellum for movement. There are numerous strains of V. cholerae, some of which are pathogenic and some of which are not. [SOURCE] The bacteria infects the intestine and increases mucous production causing diarrhea and vomiting which result in extreme dehydration […]

The Broad Street Pump had a long reputation of being a reliable source of clean well water. It extended 25 feet below the surface of the street, passing the layers of accumulated rubbish and debris that artificially elevated most of London. It stretched through a bed of gravel all the way to Hyde Park, down […]

Although he had no formal medical education, the epidemiology of cholera intrigued Reverend Whitehead. So who was this religious leader and how did he get interested in cholera? [SOURCE] REVEREND WHITEHEAD Reverend Henry Whitehead (1825-96), shown here in 1884 at age 59, was born on September 22,1825 in the seaside town of Ramsgate (middle center […]