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History of Diseases

Explore library resources related to the history of various diseases.


An infection of the genital tract occurring within 21 days of abortion or childbirth. This was a significant killer of women  especially those who gave birth in hospitals before hand washing and gloving were normal procedure.  It is now treated with antibiotics.

Other Terms

  • puerperal sepsis
  • childbed fever

Significant Names

  • Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis (1818-1865), Austrian physician.
  • Oliver Wendall Holmes,(1809-1894), American physician
  • Famous Patients: Mary Wollstoncraft  (1759-1797), English writer; Isabella Beeton, (1836-1865), English writer

In Film

The secret life of Isabella Beeton. Masterpiece Theatre, 2009.