Cholera Outbreak


1. What were Dr. Snow’s key observations during the 1831 Cholera outbreak in the mining community. Specifically discuss the geographic pattern of disease. Did his observations support the prevailing theory that a miasma (foul odors) spread cholera? What did he hypothesize instead?


Hypothesis (es):

2. While studying the 1848 cholera outbreak in London, Dr. Snow had several key observations regarding the transmission of cholera. He gathered information by talking with Doctors/ patients, looking at patterns of disease and potential ways in which the contagion could spread.

a) Please list three of these observations and how each contributed towards a new hypothesis to explain the spread of cholera from one person to another.

b) During the 1848 outbreak Dr. Snow conducted a “case-study” to test his working hypothesis on the mode of transmission. Briefly describe the study. Did it support his hypothesis that cholera could be spread through contaminated water?

3. What was Dr. Snow’s Germ theory for the transmission of cholera?

4. How did Dr. Snow test his theory for the transmission of cholera in the Grand Experiment (1854) and what were his findings?

a. Which water companies did Dr, Snow select and why? How would these water companies help understand if cholera was spread through water?

b. What data on cholera did Dr. Snow use to compare the potential for cholera to be spread through water from the two water companies?

c. What were his findings when directly comparing the two companies?

d. Did this support his germ theory of contagion, or did it provide new information which required him to rethink his theory?

5. During the 1854 Cholera outbreak in London, there was a particularly severe outbreak in the Broad Street community where approximately 600 people died over 10 days. Dr. Snow applied his understanding of the transmission of cholera to addressing this disease outbreak.

a. Describe Dr. Snows investigation of the Broad Street Cholera Outbreak. What method did he use to determine which source of water was connected to the cholera outbreak?

b. When Dr. Snow identified the potential source of the cholera outbreak – what action did he recommend to the London Board of Health?

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