The decline of a typhus epidemic in the Warsaw ghetto explained social distancing

Mathematicians have modeled the spread of a typhus epidemic in the Warsaw ghetto and found that the epidemic appears to have been halted due to large-scale antiepidemiological measures. In addition, the researchers analyzed the reduction in the number of cards on food and assumed that the actual number of deaths in the ghetto one and a half times higher than the official data. Article published in the journal Science Advances.

Infectious diseases and their epidemics and pandemics claiming the lives of millions of people and sometimes change the course of human history. Especially terrible epidemic, when they put on a man-made disaster, war or famine. For example, the pandemic of the Spanish flu began at the end of the First world war claimed more lives than military action.

The fear of the epidemic has even become one of the driving forces of the Holocaust: German Nazis believedthat the Jews spread infectious diseases, and justify the creation of ghettos and the killing of Jews. In Warsaw in October 1940, after a relatively small outbreaks of typhoid fever (it started after the bombing of the city), has established the largest ghetto — more than 400 thousand people were forbidden to leave the walled area to “seal in” the epidemic in it.

Poor sanitation, overcrowding and cold in the ghetto helped to breed to a carrier of typhoid fever — human louse — and a year later, in the spring of 1941, there was a new outbreak, this time ill from 80 to 110 thousand people.

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