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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases - Volume 11 2000, Issue 2, Pages 112-115

Historical Review

Professor Emeritus of Medical Imaging, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

WC Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


William Tomison, in charge of the Hudson-s Bay Company-s Cumberland House on the Saskatchewan River, described the devastating smallpox epidemic of 1781 and 1782. He understood contagion, practised isolation and disinfection, and provided mortality statistics during a -virgin soil- epidemic. Above all, he showed remarkable compassion. He and his men took dying Indians into their already crowded quarters, and provided them with food, shelter and 24 h care. This article describes the epidemic and its aftermath.

Autor: C Stuart Houston and Stan Houston



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