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Salmonella Infections, Networks of Knowledge, and Public Health in Britain, 1880-1975$
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Anne Hardy

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198704973

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198704973.001.0001

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The Hygiene of the Sea

The Hygiene of the Sea

(p.43) 2 The Hygiene of the Sea
Salmonella Infections, Networks of Knowledge, and Public Health in Britain, 1880-1975

Anne Hardy

Oxford University Press

The transformation of the sea from a purifying medium to a contaminated one through the medium of sewage-contaminated shell-fish is considered here. In a classic case of expert disagreement, the medical discovery of the dissemination of typhoid and gastro-enteritis by oysters in the 1890s was accompanied by difficulties in confirming this pathway of transmission in the laboratory. Threatened by several notable oyster-associated outbreaks, the shell-fish trades learnt to challenge medical pronouncements by exploiting bacteriological uncertainty in their own interests. This chapter shows how medical and bacteriological authority was pitted against trade interests and political partisanship, but also highlights the faecal pollution of shell-fish as a persistent health hazard.

Keywords:   sea water, typhoid, oysters, shell-fish trades, bacteriology, laboratories, trade interests

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