A Brief History of Epidemics in Minnesota

More than a hundred a long time have handed considering that a fatal influenza epidemic drove the point out into a quarantine like the a person we’re confronting now with COVID-19. The story of these health conditions commences before civilization by itself, transcending imaginary borders like Minnesota—or The united states. Let us revisit some of our state’s darkest battles in this by no means-ending campaign—and, for reassurance, see how we came out the other aspect.


Steamboats have cholera up the Mississippi River to St. Paul. The city’s newspapers, politicians, and board of health and fitness try to suppress data about the outbreak. The Sisters of the Order of St. Joseph address the stricken at the state’s initial hospital.


Just after the violence of the U.S.-Dakota War, the army forcibly marches a 1,658-person, 4-mile-very long caravan of Dakota folks to Ft. Snelling. Mainly gals and children, the detainees shell out the winter in a concentration camp. Measles rips by means of, killing just about three hundred souls.


The diphtheria epidemic spikes in Sleepy Eye, hitting primarily children. Authorities file 80–90 deaths as the scourge devastates overall people. Eventually, in 1883, the sickness vanishes as mysteriously as it experienced arrived. 


Smallpox hits the north country’s logging camps. The Brainerd police block panicky lumberjacks who try to flee the ill zone for Duluth or the Cities. At some point, health and fitness officials vaccinate the laborers and burn their infected camps.


The eminent Norwegian physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen comes in Minnesota to review Norwegian immigrants with leprosy. Through his study, he hopes to encourage colleagues that the sickness is not hereditary but contagious by means of close make contact with.


Typhoid infects hundreds in the fifteenth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry at the State Fairgrounds. The epidemic spreads to the front of the Spanish-American War before army medical professional Dr. Walter Reed traces its probable origin back again to Mpls.’s water source.


The point out legislature repeals an 1883 point out law requiring all university-age children to be vaccinated for smallpox. Obligatory kid vaccination gets unlawful. Who doesn’t adore a comeback story?


Just after tuberculosis kills twenty,000 Minnesotans in between 1887 and 1899, development commences on the long run Ah-Gwah-Ching (Ojibwe for “out of doors”), a massive point out-operate sanatorium overlooking Shingobee Bay, on the south shore of Leech Lake.


The so-called “Spanish flu” zigs from Kansas to WWI’s frontlines and zags back again to Minnesota. The U of M postpones classes, and the Mpls. Dept. of Health shuts down all universities, churches, and theaters. By the time it finishes, the flu kills just about 12,000 in the point out.


In late January, an wounded Canadian enters a Duluth hospital. Five days later he’s diagnosed: smallpox. Deaths access 37 up North it hits the Twin Cities in the drop. By 1925,  five hundred have died from the largest outbreak in point out heritage.


Minnesota’s polio outbreak balloons to just about 3,000 conditions. Officials cancel the State Honest. An Australian nurse, Sister Elizabeth Kenny, dedicates her clinic in Mpls. to a novel polio rehab program.


A sickness jumps from deer to tick to human, emerging in the woods in the vicinity of Lyme, Connecticut. In 1982, it hits Minny. Before very long, Lyme sickness gets the amount a person vector-borne ailment in the place.


Gay activist Bruce Brockway, the publisher of Positively Gay, Mpls.’s initial LGBTQ newspaper, also gets the initial Minnesotan to be diagnosed with HIV. A yr later, with 9 verified conditions in the point out, Brockway co-founds the Minnesota AIDS Job.


Congress threatens funding for the National Endowment for the Arts immediately after the Strib’s critic, Mary Abbe, fretfully (and dubiously) stories on a bloody staging of Martyrs and Saints at Patrick’s Cabaret by HIV+ effectiveness artist Ron Athey.


A terrifying meningitis outbreak at Mankato West Significant School infects 8 and kills a person before point out officials efficiently vaccinate thirty,000 folks more than a three-working day time period.


In January, a novel sickness wipes out a yard mixed-chicken flock in Washington State. By March, a remarkably pathogenic avian influenza strain (H5N2) strikes a professional turkey operation in MN. Farmers euthanize hundreds of thousands of birds—Minnesota counts 9 million deaths—while China, Mexico, and Canada lower poultry imports.


In 1998, a paper by quack British physician Andrew Wakefield fraudulently connected vaccinations to autism, eroding vaccination rates. Pretty much twenty a long time later, the point out suffers the largest measles outbreak in a generation—with the Somali group specifically challenging-strike.


As countrywide STD rates access file degrees, MN health and fitness officials track a local increase in chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea. Our infectious sickness director factors to two components: (1) the renewed unpopularity of condoms and (2) the courting app Tinder.