This contribution focuses on two health policy tools in use in past centuries,such as quarantines and sanitary cordons, which the current coronavirus pandemic has, at least in part, brought back to life (albeit with different names). The historical origins of these two institutes, their characteristics and the most usual methods of application are highlighted here, through the examination of some cases relating to a time span between the end of the XIVth century and the early XIXth century. In an era in which the etiopathogenesis of the most widespread epidemic diseases (bubonic plague, typhus, yellow fever, cholera) was still completely unknown, and in which, consequently, medicaments or other treatments with even minimal therapeutic efficacy were lacking, quarantines and cordons represented the only form of defense against disease. With all their limitations, deriving from high costs and organizational flaws that often undermined their effectiveness, they have at least made it possible to reduce contacts between sick people and people susceptible to becoming infected, blocking (or limiting) the possibility of interhuman contagion, which in all epidemic diseases, including the plague,have always represented one of the main means by which the contagion is spread. The analysis shows that in the fight against diseases, public health regulatory interventions have made up for strictly medical instruments, which, by obeying ancient but unfounded theoretical parameters, produced effects overall detrimental on the mortality and lethality rates.
|Translated title of the contribution||[Autom. eng. transl.] From travel to forced segregation: quarantines and cordons as tools of health policy in the modern age|
|Title of host publication||Il viaggio: scoprire ed essere scoperti|
|Editors||Alberto Barzanò, Cinzia Bearzot|
|Number of pages||19|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|
- cordoni sanitari, quarantene, epidemie, politiche sanitarie
- sanitary cordons, quarantaines, epidemics, health policies