Cholera epidemics in the Ottoman Empire during 1910-1913 and relevant events



Unat EK.

Yeni Tip Tarihi Arastirmalari. 1995;1:55-65.


From 1910 to 1913 was one of the disastrous periods of the history of the Ottoman Empire. Cholera epidemic was one of the causes of this calamity. The early cases of cholera were diagnosed on July 15 in Erzurum in 1910. The disease was imported from Russia and started to spread in the country. Cholera appeared in Istanbul on September 1st and spread rapidly. This danger necessitated the mobilization of all civilian and military resources. In spite of these efforts, Istanbul became an important focus of cholera for Turkey, because of intensive human traffic in the capital. Some cholera cases came from Iran to Iraq and from Italy to Libya and disease spread out to the vicinities during this year. This epidemic disappeared in January 1911. According to the official records, between July 15, 1910 and January 12, 1911 cholera killed 4023 people. In May 1911 cholera reappeared in Samsun and spread within the Ottoman Empire and 18876 persons were infected with cholera and 12143 of them died. In 1912 and 1913, the foundations of the Ottoman Empire were shaken by Balkan War, military defeats, lost territory, unlucky refugees and immigrants, and dreadful calamity of cholera epidemic. There is no reliable official record on the exact numbers of cholera patients and deaths. This great epidemic subsided during the Autumn of 1913. In the Ottoman Empire, preparation of Kolle’s vaccine against cholera was started in 1912 and its was applied during 1913.

Keywords: Cholera epidemics in the Ottoman Empire during 1910-1913 and relevant events