All About Viruses and Bacteria

Miasma Theory

   A miasma is a cloud of vapor or mist that was believed to cause disease. It supposedly could be recognized by its smell of decomposition. The miasma theory states that diseases and sicknesses come from breathing in a miasma. The miasma cloud would infect you with a sickness and you would die. People thought these miasmas occurred in only filthy places or off things that smelled bad like rotten food or sewage. This theory of disease originated back in medieval times. In 1655 doctors even wore masked that smelled of flowers to keep out the dangerous miasmas that surrounded the diseased and the sick. People would air out buildings, take sewage far from cities, and drain swamps to get rid of foul smells. The miasma theory was believed by many all the way up to the mid 1800's. Many doctors who believed in the miasma theory would not believe in other theories of the time. When germ theory was discovered, many doctors would not believe it and refused to wash their hands between patients because they believed that illness was caused by bad air around them and not germs lodged under their finger nails. Their are many problems with the miasma theory. First is that the miasma theory says that it is caused by a cloud of air. This would make any sickness caused by a miasma an airborne sickness. If it was airborne, it would infect more people, and not just the poor and unsanitary. The second problem with this theory is that miasmas only infected certain people. Why would a cloud of air choose its victims? Although the miasma theory was false, it leads a movement to clean hospitals and other important medical places everywhere. False or not it helps save peoples lives.
Scientis and Health Officals looking for Miasma Clouds