Dealing with an epidemic in 19th-century Egypt

(05-05-2020) Belgian physician Pierre Dutrieux' views on deconfinement in the throes of a cholera epidemic in 19th century Egypt

Cholera-epidemie 1883 EgypteIn the global coronavirus crisis, Belgium has entered the stage of 'responsible deconfinement', shifting the emphasis shifted from stringent measures to an increased sense of personal responsibility, a decision Belgian physician in Alexandria, Pierre Dutrieux (1848-1889) would probably have agreed with. PhD candidate Gert Huskens and Dr. Jan Vandersmissen introduce us to this UGent alumnus in their blog post for the Pyramids & Progress project they both work for.

After a stint in the Congo, Dutrieux settled in Egypt and started to focus on international health and sanitation issues such as eye diseases and cholera around 1880. In the debate on infectious desease control, he was a staunch advocate of an international system of 'sanitary control', entailing 'rigorous medical inspections' and 'serious disinfection', which was to replace the often arbitrary national quarantine regimes. This focus on personal sanitary responsibility enforced by external control has recently been gaining ground in the Belgian COVID-19 debate.

Read Gert Huskens and Dr. Jan Vandersmissen's article on the life and views of Pierre Dutrieux on the Pyramids & Progress blog.