This contribution presents an innovative research project, titled Lifting the burden of disease, based on the individual level cause-of-death data for the city of Amsterdam between 1854 and 1940. These data create a unique historical laboratory in which we can study epidemiological change and its determinants.
Does rapid urbanization cause rising mortality and worsening sanitation? Nineteenth-century Britain is often used as the classic exemplar of this problem, however we find little evidence that mortality rose in English cities during the Industrial Revolution.
Using rich historical data from the London Foundling Hospital 1892-1919, I find that malnutrition did not affect whether individuals contracted infectious diseases, but it did influence sickness severity from measles.
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