Global Partners in Education Journal, Vol 5, No 2 (2015)

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The Origin of Quarantine

Wen Nie


Quarantine, a major breakthrough achieved by human beings in the battle with infectious diseases throughout history, is embedded in health practice and strictly related to plague ever since the 14th century. Through the measures taken by governments from infected regions and nations, we all know that the period for quarantine varies. Whereas the original 40 days is not without a basis, instead, it has a strong association with the medical theory of Hippocrates, the Lenten Season of the Christian tradition, and the Philosophical month in ancient western alchemy. In the absence of a targeted vaccine and according to medical theory, traditional belief and alchemical practice, quarantine formed the standard system with the 40-day period as one of the most effective general preventive interventions, which influenced people for centuries.

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