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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


MATEOS JIMENEZ, Juan Bta. The Birth of International Health. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2006, vol.80, n.6, pp.647-656. ISSN 2173-9110.

The Industrial Revolution having been well under way by the mid-19th century, epidemics of pestilential diseases, severe and affecting many people (bubonic plague, yellow fever and Asian cholera) were still spreading freely given that many countries either had no preventive laws at all or enforced them chaotically, whilst even the simplest information concerning the health situation was not made known to other neighboring States, thus favoring the epidemic's spread. Therefore, there was an almost anxious desire among most Nations to come up with an acceptable way of putting an end to the confusion and ignorance of all the many different laws governing each country, even each individual port, with regard to the preventive health treatment to be imposed upon ships, passengers and goods, which mean a truly depressing confusion for both commerce and travellers. Following several different failed attempts, the French Government managed to get a plan under way which was generally well-accepted and which served as the basis for the First International Sanitary Conference, which opened on July 23, 1851 in Paris, in which all of the Nations having maritime interests in the Mediterranean had previously been invited to take part.

Keywords : Communicable diseases; History.

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