Infectious Disease Quarantines

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This documentary, in the form of a satellite map, traces quarantines due to illnesses like the bubonic plague, cholera, influenza, mumps, smallpox, swine flu, and alien threats. Considering all the worldwide anxiety over the recent Ebola outbreak in western Africa, it seemed like a good thing to know how we dealt with infectious disease in the past. For example, after several cholera pandemics in the nineteenth century, the federal government built Swinburne and Hoffman islands to serve as areas of quarantine for immigrants arriving by ship and carrying contagious diseases. Immigrants suspected of having such diseases were not allowed to go to Ellis Island for entry until they were shown to be well or were cured of the disease.