Environmental Change, Sanitation and Bubonic Plague in Lagos, 1924-31
Faleye, O.A. (2017). “Environmental Change, Sanitation and Bubonic Plague in Lagos, 1924–31”. International Review of Environmental History, Vol. 3, No. 2: 89-103
16 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2018 Last revised: 7 Jan 2020
Date Written: October 30, 2017
The literature on the plague in Lagos focuses primarily on the impact of the epidemic on urban planning and social inequality. While the need for town planning was conceived during the outbreak, the implementation of major urban planning schemes in the port city was delayed till the post-plague years due to the global economic depression.Thus, the existing studies are restricted to the aftermath of the epidemic. In advancing this discourse, this paper examines the place of environmental change and sanitation in plague outbreak and control between 1924 and 1931. The approach is historical, based on the critical analysis of colonial administrative, meteorological, sanitary and medical records, as well as newspaper reports. This paper concludes that, while the scourge was combated through transborder epidemic surveillance, quarantine and medical interventions, sanitary measures were directly responsible for its termination in 1931. This brings to the fore the place of nature and culture in managing emerging infectious diseases such as Ebola in West Africa.
Keywords: Bubonic Plague, Colonial Interventions, Disease Processes, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Sanitary Measures, Lagos
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