A Cure Worse than Disease

Quarantine is intended to protect, but it can also punish.

 ‘Is This a Time for Sleep?’, 1883, in which Cholera looms over New York Harbor while Science sleeps 23 © Granger/Bridgeman Images.

Quarantine as a means of preventing the spread of disease is an ancient phenomenon. Early forms of the practice are described in the Old Testament book of Leviticus and in the writings of Hippocrates. The word itself is Venetian, derived from the quaranta giorni (40 days) that arriving ships were expected to anchor outside La Serenissima to ensure freedom from the plague.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email digital@historytoday.com if you have any problems.