The Health of Seamen in Anti-Slavery Squadrons

By Sir James Watt, published February 2002


Tedium interspersed with the dangers of working boats in high surf environments, attacks from slavers and local tribes, and the boarding of slave ships all lead to the highest incidence of illness and death in the Royal Navy. Disease was of particular concern, especially those considered tropical fevers such as malaria, dengue and yellow fever.   Diseases contracted from the slaves, lack of fresh food leading to scurvy plus the climate combined to produce an unhealthy environment. Understanding of the illnesses and more importantly their treatment was still developing, indeed some treatments proved more lethal than the disease itself. But this period does see the shift away from bleeding as a perceived cure for malaria towards the more effective use of chinchona bark

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Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C) | Health at Sea | Caribbean
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

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