ABSTRACT

Chapter 5 explores how quarantine stations functioned to examine, quarantine, isolate, disinfect and treat travellers and cargo in order to contain infectious diseases such as plague, cholera and yellow fever. The earliest quarantine stations built in Europe in the fifteenth century were associated with maritime ports. Often located on islands or peninsulas, quarantine stations were places where people and goods were held in buildings on site for a mandated period of time. Within the bounds of quarantine stations, isolation of the diseased occurred within hospitals which were separated at a distance and fenced from other sections of the quarantine station. The focus of quarantine changed over the centuries with social, political, mercantile and medical forces at work exposing its contentious nature especially for local communities and trade. Quarantine facilities often developed in piecemeal and urgent ways in order to accommodate large numbers of passengers at short notice. However, they could also be grand and solid symbolizing the gateway to a city.