Mail transportation and fumigation of letters at Piraeus during the 1884 cholera epidemic
by Anthony Virvilis
In the summer of 1884, a cholera epidemic broke out, following errors by the British sanitary authorities in Alexandria the previous year. The epidemic first appeared in Toulon and then in Marseilles. It spread through Italy, with Naples being the afflicted region. Measures taken each time by the Greek government for the avoidance of the infectious diseases of cholera and plague in Greece were severe, as in this case as well.
On 14 June, Michael Papadopoulos MD was appointed Surveyor of Health Stations and Lazarettes (Government Gazette Issue [GGI] no. 252/20.6.1884). With the exception of the permanent lazarettes of Piraeus -known as Cantharos (Figg. 2 and 3) – , on 12 June, temporary lazarettes were established in Delos (GGI no. 241/12.6.1844, staffed on July by 10 temporary guardians and at the end of August with an additional 5), Corfu (on the islet of St. Demetrius in Gouvia, where Eugene Pagiatis MD was appointed on 30 June and on 28 July an assistant deodoriser) Vido (GGI no. 311/1.8.1884, personnel were appointed on the same day), St. George of Salamis, and on 25 July on the Trizonia islets, in the Gulf of Corinth (GGI no. 302/25.7.1884). The same day provisions were put in force for disinfecting all arrivals from the Italian peninsula in the Delos and Corfu lazarettes.