Smallpox Quarantine Sign

Smallpox Quarantine Sign

The history of public health cannot be understood without artifacts such as this smallpox quarantine poster. This placard is a relic of the infectious-disease prevention campaigns of late 19th and 20th century state and local public health agencies as they sought to isolate the sick, encourage physicians to report cases, and educate the public. Signage to warn against communicable diseases found its link between law and public health with the publication of Quarantine Regulations by the National Quarantine and Sanitary Association of the United States in 1860. 

Placards posted on the home of a quarantined individual such as the wmallpox warning were commonplace for many illnesses until the advent of vaccines development in the 1930s and thereafter. 

The smallpox sign dates to the pre-1930s era and was issued by the Jasonville Board of Health in Indiana. 


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