Odds and quads - 19 December 2013

The items shown here are all owned by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and are among the objects that appear in its online interactive 2013 seasonal calendar, with audio recordings and podcasts

December 19, 2013

The gilded bedbug is one of the eight vectors of disease – along with a louse, a rat, a mosquito, a flea, a snake, a tick and a fly – that adorn the balconies around the school’s Grade II listed Art Deco building in Bloomsbury. The maggot of a warble fly (Oedemagena tarandi), which burrowed under the skin of a reindeer, is in the spirit jar collection and has never before been shown to the public.

The printed notice refers to the cholera outbreak that hit areas of East London in 1866 that had not yet been connected to the new sewerage system.

Yet this tragic event also marked a turning point in our understanding of disease, as evidence steadily accumulated that transmission was occurring through people being forced to drink contaminated water, as had already been suggested by John Snow.

An exhibition celebrating the bicentenary of his birth, Cartographies of Life and Death: John Snow and Disease Mapping, was held at the LSHTM earlier this year.

matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com

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