Nearly two centuries separate the two devastating epidemics—one began four years ago this month and the other in the summer of 1832—but they are otherwise strikingly similar, and the parallels offer some lessons for public health officials today.
A novel infectious agent, cholera, is introduced into an island population living in crowded and unsanitary conditions, killing thousands. The recent epidemic, of course, occurred on the impoverished island nation of Haiti. The earlier one unfolded 2,400 kilometers north, on the island of Manhattan.
With a narrative by science journalist Sonia Shah and interactive maps produced for the Pulitzer Center by Dan McCarey, “Mapping Cholera: A Tale of Two Cities,” provides a look at the searing pathways of two outbreaks.