Friday, August 29, 2014

What Can Fourteenth Century Venice Teach Us About Ebola?

Plague Doctor's Mask
What can fourteenth century Venice teach us about Ebola? 

Here is an interesting perspective published in Environment Systems and Decisions. Venetian authorities focused on managing physical movement, social interactions, and data collection for the city as a system. This included the creation of lazarettos (quarantine stations) on nearby islands, quarantine periods, and wearing protective clothing (plague doctor's mask).

With the present Ebola outbreak, we are reminded of the importance of emergency preparedness, patient isolation for infection prevention, the use of personal protective equipment and the need for cultural/practice changes in African countries (limiting both contact with sick individuals and post-mortem contact) so as to further limit person to person cross transmission.

Plague and Ebola, different illnesses, different pathogens, some historical parallels.

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