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the spectacular scene of changing the factory into a ward during the “pandemic” in 1918.

in any era, disease and health are an eternal problem. In the era of rampant infectious diseases, the impact of diseases on historical changes is particularly significant. In the west, disease history is a very important field in the field of historiography. In China, with the change of social environment, disease history has attracted more and more attention. The

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infectious diseases are enough to subside

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and people who are familiar with European history may find such a coincidence: the history of the Middle Ages just started and ended in the only two plague epidemics in European history. No matter what is called the first plague epidemic called “the plague”, or the second plague pandemic of “Black Death”, it has “eliminated” a large proportion of the European population and profoundly changed the social order, population structure, political structure and cultural environment in Europe.

Li Yushang, Professor of History Department of Shanghai Jiaotong University, opened an elective course of “history of Chinese diseases” for postgraduates majoring in history, and had the judgment of “infectious diseases change history”.

in an interview with our reporter, Li Yushang said: “as early as 1955, China’s medical historian Fan Hangzhun reminded people in the history of Chinese preventive medicine history that attention should be paid to the important role played by infectious diseases in changing the history.” history tells us that infectious diseases can be subjugated, Rome is destroyed by malaria, Egypt is schistosomiasis, and China has two dynasties, namely, Jin and Ming, which were killed by plague. “

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indeed, in the early stage of large-scale outbreak of infectious diseases, the uncertainty of the situation often deepens people’s sense of crisis and fear, so as to stimulate and induce people’s collective behavior, and then lead to a certain degree of social disorder. As Susan Sontag said in the book “metaphor of disease”, any disease with unknown cause and ineffective treatment is easy to be covered by a certain metaphor and give society a certain symbol and hint.

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, and when people first faced the sudden attack of SARS, they also experienced four rumors. However, the improvement of the medical system and the development of information in modern society have avoided the large-scale value collapse, moral disorder and social unrest caused by the outbreak of large-scale infectious diseases.

in addition, infectious diseases not only played an important role at the time of the great revolution in history, but also had a profound impact on other aspects of society.

in the mid-19th century, Britain began to build a clean health system in major cities after being attacked by cholera. With the implementation of the public health law, the health environment in British cities and towns has been greatly improved, and the threat of infectious diseases to British society has been greatly reduced, which also makes cholera a “great environmental health reformer”. The prevention and control of

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epidemic diseases are also called

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. Besides SARS, there are also infectious diseases of similar scale outbreak in China’s history.

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, “smallpox, plague, cholera”, these three violent infectious diseases have all been extensively outbreaks in modern times. In late Qing Dynasty, smallpox infection rate in China was very low due to the popularity and popularization of vaccination. Therefore, the most important infectious diseases in modern China are plague and cholera. Li Yushang told reporters.

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, and the plague epidemic in three northeastern provinces in the year of 1910~1911 is of milepost significance in China’s public health history. This is because “before and after the epidemic of three strong infectious diseases, smallpox, plague and cholera did not urge the government to take prevention and control of diseases as one of its functions”.

although the Qing government made the decision to appoint Wu Liande, vice president of Tianjin Army Medical College, to preside over epidemic prevention when both Japan and Russia wanted to intervene in China’s internal affairs in the name of epidemic prevention, since then, it has become a Practice for the central government to deal with local major infectious diseases in China, and health has become a basic function of the country.

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, however, at that time, the control of the two infectious diseases of plague and cholera was mainly based on the measures of injecting preventive measures in the easy time, and there was no better way. Li Yushang said. After the founding of new China,

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have been reduced to the pressure of public health system in China, but endemic diseases such as plague and schistosomiasis still exist.

in Li Yushang’s opinion, these diseases are related to the natural environment and human activities, so it is very difficult to cure them. But he believes that the government’s control over them after the founding of the people’s Republic of China is still very successful.

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, however, are infected by smallpox, plague, cholera and SARS. They also face different resistance because of the gradual change of knowledge about infectious diseases.

before the emergence of Bacteriology, although people named it according to the main characteristics of the disease, generally speaking, they would throw all different infectious diseases into the basket of “plague”. Li Yushang explained to reporters: “this is because for the people, high infectivity is their common feature; people will not realize that it is caused by bacteria or viruses, but think it is caused by natural disasters or plagues.”

however, with the establishment of Bacteriology after the 1960s and 1970s, people’s understanding of infectious diseases is no longer the same. People will no longer foolishly carry out “please God” activities under the guise of religion, such as bathing and dressing, setting off a large number of firecrackers, and will no longer simply adopt isolation in the face of these infectious diseases, abandoning the infected and the dead, and blocking traffic.

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and “now may still take as many as possible the isolation of going out.” but when SARS was popular in 2003, people were still trying to find out the virus and then produce a specific drug. Li Yushang said.

no one is watching

although the progress of modern medicine has increased people’s chances of winning in the confrontation with infectious diseases. But with the rapid development of modern transportation, the spread speed and scope of infectious diseases such as SARS have expanded rapidly.

“this is a global transmission mode, which can be compared with the epidemic transmission in the non-traditional era. It is based on our era.” Li Yushang pointed out.

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, but ironically, at the beginning of the SARS epidemic 10 years ago and the 1894 plague pandemic, the mentality of many of the spectators was surprisingly consistent.

120 years ago, Shenbao played the role of “distant bystander”. People looked at the epidemic situation in other places with a curious attitude. But after a long time, when the epidemic was introduced into Hongkong and Shanghai was faced with the possibility of a ship entering the plague, they turned the spectator into a litigant and launched an active epidemic prevention work. 10 years ago, at the beginning of SARS’s popularity, there were too many people with a “distant view” mentality.

at the same time, Li Yushang also drew your attention: after the paracholera in the 1950s and 1960s, especially after the reform and opening up, China has been flat in infectious diseases for a long time, so the monitoring of infectious diseases is somewhat relaxed. This is probably one reason why SARS made the Chinese in 2003 be caught off guard. The SARS outbreak of

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in 2003 also seems to remind people that in the future, mankind will also face many new infectious diseases. Therefore, prevention and control of infectious diseases is still a very important function of the state and must not be relaxed.

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and “whether it is health sector or ordinary people, have accumulated from the SARS campaign experience of rapid response, which may be the biggest lesson of the 2003 SARS to the Chinese people, this lesson is also a wealth, needs the inscription”. Li Yushang said.