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Treasure 12: How to Stamp Out Typhoid booklet
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Treasure 12: How to Stamp Out Typhoid booklet

Historic Documents
Léa Moreau
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Treasure 12: How to Stamp Out Typhoid booklet
Historic Documents
Treasure 12: How to Stamp Out Typhoid booklet
This booklet is a reminder of a troubled period in city's past. In 1964 Aberdeen suffered one of the largest outbreaks of Typhoid in recent British history. Over 500 people were admitted to city hospitals for treatment of the infectious disease. The majority of patients were quarantined for at least four weeks before being discharged. The outbreak was traced back to a contaminated tin of corned beef which was imported from Argentina, then chopped up and sold in the William Low grocer on Union Street.

Thankfully the outbreak was successfully contained and there were no fatalities. The all clear was given on 17th June 1964, 28 days after the first notification. Public health announcements played a significant part in the city's approach to tackling the outbreak. Dr Ian A. G. MacQueen, Aberdeen's Medical Officer of Health, became a well-known figure with regular appearances in print and on television and radio on the importance of good hygiene.

The How to Stamp out Typhoid booklet was the initiative of Aberdeen business R. A. Williamson. He was director of a wholesale firm that supplied small grocers in the north east and received many enquiries from his clients on how best to combat the outbreak. Williamson asked Macqueen who was unable to provide guidelines so, in collaboration with the health and welfare department, they created this 11 page health information booklet. It had a print run of 45,000 copies, was supported by Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce and illustrated by the Evening Express. The illustrations feature the paper's character 'Wee Alickie', a die-hard supporter of Aberdeen Football Club.

In the introduction MacQueen wrote:
"The Stopping of the typhoid outbreak is principally a matter of good personal hygiene by everyone, and particularly of good personal hygiene by all food handlers.

In an effort to assist every section of the community in our area a short question and answer brochure has been hurriedly compiled, together with a Hygiene Check List, which should prove most useful to all establishments.

Members of the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce, food wholesalers, bacteriologists, health education officers and journalists have collaborated to rush this through. This brochure is therefore backed by their combined knowledge and experience. Please read it, study it and try to follow the advice that it gives."

The outbreak adversely affected Aberdeen's reputation in the UK and around the world. This in turn had an economic impact for the city, particularly on tourism. After the all clear was given the Queen came to the city to demonstrate plainly that Aberdeen was a safe place to visit and that life had returned to normal.
Aberdeen Local Studies
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