Comparison of Infectious Versus Noninfectious Causes of Death in Children 5 and Under
Autumn Grabowski, ANT418: Seminar in Biological Anthropology
Faculty Mentor(s): Professor Julie Wieczkowski, Anthropology
Until the middle of the 19th century, handwashing by physicians and doctors was not commonly practiced. In Buffalo, New York the method was adopted around the 1880s. The purpose of this research project is to analyze the effects that physicians adopting handwashing practices had on the cause of death in children aged 5 and under in Buffalo. I looked at children 5 and under buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, local to the area in the years 1865-1866 and 1895, to observe the numerical differences in infectious causes of death. The hypothesis for this study is there will have been fewer children 5 and under dying from infectious causes in 1895 after handwashing became commonplace amongst doctors and physicians, compared to the children 5 and under who died in 1865-1866. This data comes directly from scanned Death Registries volumes B (1865-1875) and E (1894-1902) at the Margaret L. Wendt Archive and Resource Center, Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo. One hundred children were recorded this way. The causes of death were then categorized into infectious, noninfectious, or indeterminate. This study found there was a 12.5% decrease in infectious causes of death in 1895 compared to 1865-66.
Grabowski, Autumn, "Comparison of Infectious Versus Noninfectious Causes of Death in Children 5 and Under" (2021). Psychology and Social Sciences. 13.