Монологи на английском языке с текстом и переводом. №100. Тема: Болезни большого города в начале 19 века.

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Today, we are going to consider the history of disease and disease prevention. Try to imagine, if you will, a large city in the early 19th century. What images do you see? How would cities then have been different from cities today? First of all, they didn't have any cars, right? So, no dirty exhaust smoke or fumes. But then again, people got around by horse and buggy, and these horses left manure everywhere.
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That couldn't have smelled too good. OK, so we've got horse manure all over the place. What else? Cities back then didn't have adequate garbage collection and disposal, so garbage piled up on the streets, sometimes up to three feet high. Dead animals were everywhere. Water accumulated in the carcasses of these dead animals. And we haven't even gotten to the plumbing. They didn't have adequate sewer systems as it was, and all of the garbage and animal remains everywhere clogged up the sewer drains.
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Most houses used an outhouse for human waste, and some were more like shallow trenches in the ground. Outhouses were sometimes located next to wells, which meant that the fluids could flow into the drinking water. In a word, cities in the early 19th century stank. We know now that these conditions create a breeding ground for infectious diseases. It will not surprise you one bit to learn that diseases like typhoid, typhus, malaria, yellow fever, pneumonia, diphtheria, and tuberculosis were rampant in cities.
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Children were particularly at risk, and most families didn't expect their children to reach adulthood. This was a fact of life. Now, keep in mind that, although the problem and its solutions seem obvious to us, they didn't have the knowledge of bacteria and the spread of disease that we have today. For a long time, diseases were actually thought by some people to be caused and spread by immoral behavior.
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However, in the early 19th century, it was becoming clear that these diseases were in some way related to unsanitary conditions in the cities. In fact, some thought that disease was spread by the smell itself. Then, along came germ theory. Now at first, many were skeptical of the idea that such tiny bacteria could cause such a major problem. However, over time, as medical professionals studied these diseases and discovered that different microorganisms were associated with different diseases, people became convinced.
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Now it was obvious that prevention of disease epidemics lay in the sanitation of the city. So, they cleaned it up. But of course, this didn't completely rid the cities of disease. For example, typhoid is a waterborne bacterial infection. Naturally, when they cleaned up the water, they expected the typhoid to go away. But it didn't... not entirely. What did germ theory have to say about that? Well, scientists learned that people could be carriers of a disease.
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People who had been exposed to the disease and had recovered could still spread the disease to others. This discovery had important ramifications. Now, the responsibility to prevent disease lay not only on society, but on the individual as well. Efforts were made to increase awareness of personal hygiene and to identify carriers of disease. Can you imagine what it would be like to be identified as a carrier?
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Here is a famous example. Mary Mallon, known as "Typhoid Mary", was an Irish immigrant to New York who made her living as a cook. She worked in the houses of several wealthy families in the area. In 1906, she was hired by a banker to cook for his family of 11 in his rented summer home. When 6 of these 11 people became ill with typhoid, the owner of the house became worried that he would be unable to rent it again, so he hired a civil engineer to identify the problem.
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After checking the water system and other possible sources, he identified the cook, Mary, as the probable cause. By tracing her job history, he found that there had been typhoid outbreaks at other places where she'd been employed. She was then forced to undergo tests, and once she was identified as a carrier, had to live in isolation in the custody of the Board of Health for the rest of her life.
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