Medical Knowledge and Sanitation Measures in China in the Time of Cholera, 1820-1925

Joint event with TORCH Medical Humanities, Public Health in China: A Multidisciplinary Workshop, held at the China Centre, Dickson Poon Building

From the beginning of the 19th century to the early 20th century, cholera was a pandemic of global importance, but the related medical knowledge and sanitation measures are quite local. During this period, cholera broke out repeatedly in China. The cognition of cholera affected directly sanitation measures related to it.

Throughout the 19th century, the Chinese followed the cognition of Traditional Chinese medicine about cholera. Sanitation measures under traditional medical knowledge had little effect on public health. At the turn of the 19th century, more and more doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine accepted the nomenclature and connotation of cholera in western medicine. In the early 20th century, there were local efforts to improve public health, mainly in urban areas, by establishing medical colleges and hospitals, improving infrastructure and promulgating hygiene regulations.