What did people think caused disease in the early 1800s?

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  • Fading beliefs
    • What did people think caused disease in the early 1800s?
      • Bad air/miasma
        • The idea that bad air causes diseases
        • The dirt in the streets gave off terrible smells so people assumed these smells caused and spread disease
        • People called the poisonous fumes miasma
        • In the 19th Century the rapid growth of industrialisation  created filthy and bed smelling cities which tended to be the focal point of disease
        • By improving sanitation and general cleanliness levels of disease were seen to fall
      • Spontaneous generation theory
        • Scientists used new microscopes to study micro-organisms  on rotting food
        • They tried to work out where the organisms came from
        • They decided that the organisms were spontaneously generated by the process of decay
      • The microscope
        • In the 1800s Joseph Lister developed the microscope which magnified things 1000 times
        • Scientists could now study the tiny organisms found in water, food and human waste
    • Diseases were thought to be caused when the body's humours are out of balance
    • Many people thought diseases were sent from God as a punishment for their sins


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