Home » Uncategorized » When Cambridge-trained Dr. Wu correctly diagnosed the 1910 Manchuria pandemic as pneumonic (airborne) plague, french doctor Mesny admonished Dr. Wu using a racial slur and asserting it was bubonic plague. To prove his point, Dr. Mesny toured a plague ward without a mask. He died six days later.

When Cambridge-trained Dr. Wu correctly diagnosed the 1910 Manchuria pandemic as pneumonic (airborne) plague, french doctor Mesny admonished Dr. Wu using a racial slur and asserting it was bubonic plague. To prove his point, Dr. Mesny toured a plague ward without a mask. He died six days later.

The Plague Fighter: Dr Wu Lien-Teh and His Work

The Penang-born doctor helped eradicate the deadly Manchurian pneumonic plague of 1910 and pushed for the use of face masks to prevent its spread. Kevin Y.L. Tan documents his life and work.

Wu Lien-Teh Collection, PictureSG, National Library, Singapore.

The year 2020 will be remembered as the time when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. As the virus spread through towns and cities, people were made to isolate themselves, to work from home and to don face masks when they went out.

Although few realise it, much of this is a replay of some of the protocols that were pioneered 110 years ago by a brilliant but now-forgotten Penang-born bacteriologist Wu Lien-Teh (伍連德) when he was tasked to deal with the Manchurian pneumonic plague of 191… Continue Reading (15 minute read)

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