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Old 07-20-2014, 09:29 AM   #16
Cady Heron
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I don't buy the conspiracy theories, personally. I think they severely underestimate just how much progress medicine has made. It is true that the number of children who died distorted lifespan statistics but there were certainly many things that caused premature deaths among adults. I can think of many writers during the same time period, before, and after who died relatively early.

Tuberculosis was one such factor, it caused a very large percentage of deaths. Vaccination against tuberculosis didn't exist, if I recall correctly, until sometime in the early 20th century. It didn't become widespread in the western world until the second half of the 20th century. There were fewer treatment options too. I don't find it implausible that two of the sisters could have died from TB, and even that Charlotte (I think) was initially suspected to have died of TB like them.

I don't think mosquitoes are a big factor here in any case. TB is usually spread through airborne particles via an infected person. All it would take would be for one of them to cough around the other while at an advanced enough stage.

(Great thread, by the way.)
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:55 AM   #17
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This is obviously ripe material for a novel. Has anyone written historical fiction about the Brontes?

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Old 07-20-2014, 11:02 AM   #18
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This is obviously ripe material for a novel. Has anyone written historical fiction about the Brontes?

eP
I don't know about the Brontes, but someone's certainly written such a book about Jane Austen:

The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen
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Old 07-20-2014, 04:03 PM   #19
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This is obviously ripe material for a novel. Has anyone written historical fiction about the Brontes?

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It's all explained in one of the short stories in Queen Victoria's book of spells. (Briefly: It was a tragical magic accident, caused by Bramwell's carelessness.)
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:09 PM   #20
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This is obviously ripe material for a novel. Has anyone written historical fiction about the Brontes?

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crimes-Charl...arlotte+bronte
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:14 PM   #21
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I don't know about the Brontes, but someone's certainly written such a book about Jane Austen:

The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen
I should add that the reason I know about this book is that it was recently dramatised on BBC Radio. I very much enjoyed it.
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:15 PM   #22
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Charlotte (I think) was initially suspected to have died of TB like them.

I don't think mosquitoes are a big factor here in any case. TB is usually spread through airborne particles via an infected person. All it would take would be for one of them to cough around the other while at an advanced enough stage.

(Great thread, by the way.)
Charlotte is now thought, by most Bronte authorities, to have died from hyperemesis gravidarum/severe morning sickness. Few still maintain that it was TB, while others think that her husband, Nicholls, poisoned her.
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:21 PM   #23
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I don't know about the Brontes, but someone's certainly written such a book about Jane Austen:

The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen
Isn't it now thought that Jane Austen's symptoms indicate Addison's Disease? Although these symptoms are very similar to those of arsenic poisoning.
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:31 PM   #24
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...The UK doesn't have mosquitoes, it's too cold here...
The UK definitely does have mosquitos, predominantly of the subfamilies Anophelinae and Culicinae, and they are common and widely distributed where there is water for them to breed in (that water may be saline). A few do not bite humans though. The Health Protection Agency actually monitor their numbers and distribution, and Public Health England give advice for protection against bites and how to control potential breeding sites.

Mosquitoes generally become rarer in urban areas due to the lack of breeding sites and, for example, I have worked in countries which have very high rates of malaria due to mosquito infestation, but even there in large urban areas it is rare to see a mosquito as breeding sites are limited.

It is also not too cold in the UK for many mosquitoes as, like many insects, they can go into semi-hibernation when it is cold (despite that, some manage two breeding cycles per year). So, for example, mosquitos also survive in the likes of Siberia and the Ukraine with no problem at all (and have historically been the cause of very large outbreaks of malaria there). Before controls were put in place the coastal areas of the Netherlands were a particular problem, and using the presence of malaria as evidence for the existence of mosquitoes they have existed throughout the cold regions of Europe, including Scandinavia throughout history.

Last edited by AnotherCat; 07-20-2014 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:10 AM   #25
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Mosquitoes generally become rarer in urban areas due to the lack of breeding sites and, for example, I have worked in countries which have very high rates of malaria due to mosquito infestation, but even there in large urban areas it is rare to see a mosquito as breeding sites are limited.
I realize this is way off-topic, but I live in Brooklyn, NY, a very large, very urban area and we definitely have a mosquito problem. A breeding site can be as small as a forgotten bucket of water. We have had cases of West Nile virus in NYC and they have used helicopters to spray insecticide over the large urban parks.

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Old 07-21-2014, 11:11 AM   #26
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The UK definitely does have mosquitos, predominantly of the subfamilies Anophelinae and Culicinae, and they are common and widely distributed where there is water for them to breed in (that water may be saline).
That's interesting - I didn't know that. Thanks for the information. I've certainly never been aware of mosquitoes in the UK.
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:54 AM   #27
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That's interesting - I didn't know that. Thanks for the information. I've certainly never been aware of mosquitoes in the UK.
I would imagine that back when England was starting to build the zoological gardens that some mosquitoes could have accidentally hitched a ride back to England back then. After all at one time Malaria was thought to be caused by bad air as the name of the disease implies (Mal = bad Aria = air so that Malaria means Bad air) so if some of their eggs were accidentally scooped up along with samples of plant life they would have been imported back to England even if they weren't native to the island.
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:30 PM   #28
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I've lived in England all my life, and the 'problem' of mosquitoes has never been mentioned, by family, by friends, on the news, or by doctors. You certainly don't need malaria protection here. There are midges and gnats and greenfly and bluebottles and wasps and bumble bees, but I've never encountered a mosquito. I've been bitten by cat fleas, but not mosquitoes.

Screens whether over the bed or on windows and doors, are unknown. I have my french windows wide open now, and the only flying insect I've seen is a fly.

Now, back to the Brontes.....
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:34 PM   #29
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I've lived in England all my life, and the 'problem' of mosquitoes has never been mentioned, by family, by friends, on the news, or by doctors. You certainly don't need malaria protection here. There are midges and gnats and greenfly and bluebottles and wasps and bumble bees, but I've never encountered a mosquito. I've been bitten by cat fleas, but not mosquitoes.

Screens whether over the bed or on windows and doors, are unknown. I have my french windows wide open now, and the only flying insect I've seen is a fly.

Now, back to the Brontes.....
In the UK the term "gnat" is most commonly used when referring to mosquitos. In saying that I am not making any judgement whatsoever as to what insect you are referring to as the term is used around the world for a few other insects as well.

Locally transmitted malaria existed in the UK until at least the early 20th Century when control of mosquitos was introduced (it was only a few decades before then that some mosquito tribes were implicated in the transmission of malaria).

While I am not making any claims whatsoever with respect to the deaths of the Brontes, I do not know much about them or the geography of Haworth, malaria or susceptibility to secondary illnesses arising from that is always a possibility as to the cause of deaths in the UK during the 19th Century, especially if the location is associated with wetlands (including saline estuaries).

Last edited by AnotherCat; 07-21-2014 at 07:38 PM. Reason: a word was missed out
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Old 07-21-2014, 08:37 PM   #30
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According to:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Malaria...roduction.aspx

Quote:
Malaria is not found in the UK, although about 1,400 travellers were diagnosed with malaria after returning to the UK from the areas above in 2012. Two people died.
But according to this site:
http://malaria.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_WTD023991.html
mosquito-born malaria did exist in England historically and would have been around at the time of the Brontes, but how many deaths can be attributed to this is in doubt.
http://pmj.bmj.com/content/80/949/663.full#sec-5

Last edited by BookCat; 07-21-2014 at 08:47 PM.
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