Epidemic Diseases in Penang, 1819


The following two abstracts from two 1830 publications should interest the present-day common man as much as the modern medical practitioner. The first is Contributions to the Medical Topography of Prince of Wales Island, or Pulo Pinang, a report written by T.M. Ward, MD, member of the Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh and assistant surgeon of the 30th Regiment Madras Native Infantry. It was printed by Order of the Government of Fort Cornwallis. It provides scarce information about the scourges of small pox and cholera in the early 1800s, in Penang.
The second text is from Pinang Government Gazette of July 1830, and describes how small pox was sometimes treated in Province Wellesley.

“The principal Epidemic Diseases (on Prince of Wales Island) have been the small pox and cholera. The former recurs nearly every year, with more or less virulence, and to greater or less extent, according to various circumstances, with which we are unacquainted. In some years, every case has been observed to be of the worst confluent description, while in others, the disease has been comparatively mild. For the last three years, the population has been denied the blessings of vaccination; as, tho’ the station has been regularly supplied with lymph from Madras and Calcutta, the vaccine disease has not been produced in any one instance in which it has been tried.

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