Culture

Waldemar Huffkine #OnThisDay

On 18th of July 1892, Ukrainian bacteriologist Waldemar Huffkine risked his life by testing his own vaccine against cholera on himself.

Wellcome Collection gallery (2018-04-06): https://wellcomecollection.org/works/zncvsfym CC-BY-4.0

He is recognized as the first microbiologist who developed and used vaccines against cholera and bubonic plague. He tested the vaccines on himself. Lord Joseph Lister named him “a saviour of humanity”

During the 19th century, cholera spread across the world from its original reservoir in the Ganges delta in India. Six subsequent pandemics killed millions of people across all continents. The current (seventh) pandemic started in South Asia in 1961, reached Africa in 1971 and the Americas in 1991. Cholera is now endemic in many countries

WHO

Key facts

  • Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated.
  • Researchers have estimated that each year there are 1.3 to 4.0 million cases of cholera, and 21 000 to 143 000 deaths worldwide due to cholera
  • Most of those infected will have no or mild symptoms and can be successfully treated with oral rehydration solution.
  • Severe cases will need rapid treatment with intravenous fluids and antibiotics.
  • Provision of safe water and sanitation is critical to prevent and control the transmission of cholera and other waterborne diseases.
  • Oral cholera vaccines should be used in conjunction with improvements in water and sanitation to control cholera outbreaks and for prevention in areas known to be high risk for cholera.
  • A global strategy on cholera control, Ending Cholera: a global roadmap to 2030, with a target to reduce cholera deaths by 90% was launched in 2017.

Categories: Culture, Science

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