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Science: a cholera sample from 1853 could cast new light on epidemics

Science: a cholera sample from 1853 could cast new light on epidemics

Modern science got a precious gift – the little bottle contains perhaps the oldest existing cholera sample. This substance has the great research potential, it could shed a light on cholera bacteria and disease’s transmission route.

Europe suffered from the epidemics and pandemics, cholera was one of the biggest problems for the ancient and medieval doctors, they just didn’t know how to treat it. The epidemics were resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths. The outbreak of 1853 took lives of 4,700 residents of Copenhagen, ten per cent of Denmark capital’s entire population had died.

In Copenhagen, cholera erupted in June 1853, and the Norwegian doctor stands beside a terminally ill cholera patient. The doctor sealed the substance from the ill patient to help deal with the deadly cholera epidemic in foreseeable future. The flask is stored at the Medical Museion in Copenhagen.

Map of cholera infection in Copenhagen, Denmark. June 1853

Modern science  researches cholera bacteria from 1853 sample

Peter Kjær Mackie Jensen decided to research 1853 cholera sample for better understanding of its nature. This new data can help to understand how cholera spread in 1853 could perhaps help to better understand modern day epidemics in catastrophe-hit area.

Therefore, scientists are applying for financial support to fund their research and open up the old flask.

“We cannot know if it will explode when we begin to tamper with it. Perhaps it has fermented and created huge pressure. Then we’d risk being covered in cholera infected excrement,” Mackie Jensen says.

Mackie Jensen says.