Presenter Information

Meaghan Parks, SUNY GeneseoFollow

Submission Type

Poster

Start Date

22-4-2020 12:00 AM

Abstract

Childbed fever, formally called puerperal fever or puerperal septicemia, is an infection typically contracted by women after childbirth. Historically, childbed fever was a serious threat to maternal health. Childbed fever is caused by exposure of open wounds or abrasions, which are common after giving birth, to group A and B Streptococcal bacteria. Ignaz Semmelweis discovered that hand washing using a chlorinated solution reduced cases of childbed fever in 1847. This project reviews the instances of death from childbed fever in Rochester, New York from 1837-1860 and later from 1907-1919 and attempts to determine which areas of the city had the highest rates. Childbed fever was more likely to be spread by physicians than by midwives due to the physicians' other duties, such as work in cadaver labs. Neighborhoods with more affluent residents would be more likely to have access to physicians, whereas impoverished communities may have utilized midwives more. Because poorer individuals were less likely to see doctors, less affluent neighborhoods may have had lower rates of death from childbed fever. Information on deaths from childbed fever in Rochester was collected from the cause of death given in Mt.Hope cemetery death records.

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Sponsored by Kristi Krumrine

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Apr 22nd, 12:00 AM

280— Exploring the Geographic Distribution of Childbed Fever Deaths in Mid-19th Century Rochester, NY

Childbed fever, formally called puerperal fever or puerperal septicemia, is an infection typically contracted by women after childbirth. Historically, childbed fever was a serious threat to maternal health. Childbed fever is caused by exposure of open wounds or abrasions, which are common after giving birth, to group A and B Streptococcal bacteria. Ignaz Semmelweis discovered that hand washing using a chlorinated solution reduced cases of childbed fever in 1847. This project reviews the instances of death from childbed fever in Rochester, New York from 1837-1860 and later from 1907-1919 and attempts to determine which areas of the city had the highest rates. Childbed fever was more likely to be spread by physicians than by midwives due to the physicians' other duties, such as work in cadaver labs. Neighborhoods with more affluent residents would be more likely to have access to physicians, whereas impoverished communities may have utilized midwives more. Because poorer individuals were less likely to see doctors, less affluent neighborhoods may have had lower rates of death from childbed fever. Information on deaths from childbed fever in Rochester was collected from the cause of death given in Mt.Hope cemetery death records.

 

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