Smallpox of 1802 in the viceroyalty of la nueva granada: an epidemic of lessons learned

Smallpox was a disease that accompanied life in New Granada since the early years of the colony. Each outbreak posed a challenge for local authorities (ecclesiastical and civil), as well as for confraternities and settlers of the different estates, insofar as measures had to be implemented to contain transmission and seek a cure, among others.

The knowledge learned allowed the establishment of action plans for its treatment, which were effectively applied in the 1802 epidemic in New Granada. After learning of the first outbreak, Viceroy Pedro Mendinueta y Múzquiz decreed a series of provisions for its management from the community, focused on “communicating, attending and containing”. In relation to communication, it was requested to promulgate the bando on the epidemic (written and oral). With regard to care, it was necessary to identify the sick and implement a community care plan according to the level to which they belonged.