Mysteries of vernacular: Quarantine - Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel
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Stemming from the days of bubonic plague in Medieval Europe, quarantines were originally used to prevent potentially plague-infested ships from disembarking at a port city. Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel explain how the length of the wait, often 40 days, came to be associated with the word we use today.
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In the long and unsanitary history of Europe there have been many plagues but only one Black Death. It killed over a third of Europe’s population in 4 years – young and old, rich and poor, in the town and in the country. When it stopped in 1351 it left a continent ravaged but transformed – the poor found their labour to be valuable, religion was both reinforced and undercut, medicine progressed, art changed and the continent awash with guilt and memorialisation. In health care, isolation refers to various measures taken to prevent contagious diseases from being spread from a patient to other patients, health care workers, and visitors, or from others to a particular patient. Various forms of isolation exist, some of which contact procedures are modified, and others in which the patient is kept away from all others. Infectious diseases, also known as transmissible diseases or communicable diseases, comprise clinically evident illness (i.e., characteristic medical signs and/or symptoms of disease) resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenicbiological agents in an individual host organism. In certain cases, infectious diseases may be asymptomatic for much or even all of their course in a given host. In the latter case, the disease may only be defined as a "disease" (which by definition means an illness) in hosts who secondarily become ill after contact with an asymptomatic carrier. An infection is not synonymous with an infectious disease, as some infections do not cause illness in a host. Croatia, credited with instituting the first quarantine, is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic at the crossroads of Central Europe, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb.
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