Prevention methods

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Public sanitizing efforts in the 1900s

Also in the early 20th century, governmental and other public institutions attempted interventions to sanitize living spaces and prevent disease. Hygiene initiatives required segregation and quarantine for infected towns. Ships that had suspected passengers were disinfected and isolated; sick passengers were separated once ashore and reported to authorities.                   

Local offices provided disinfectants for free. And since fire was also commonly used to disinfect public facilities, new dwellings for workmen were built from iron since the material is fire-resistant.

The public also became increasingly aware of the need to control vectors of transmission. Many Chileans began to trap rats through methods like arsenic-laced cheese or predatory foxes, thus slowing the transmission of both plague and smallpox. Through such efforts, public hygiene gradually improved, bringing positive and hopeful outcomes to Chile despite the devastation wrought by the epidemics.


Public sanitizing efforts in 1910 from National Library of Chile (Santiago, Chile), 1910. Retrieved from Accessed July 22, 2020. Public Domain - Chile.

Prevention methods