The Baltimore City Health Department was founded in 1793 and is considered the oldest continuously operating health department in the United States. It was established in response to the first recorded yellow fever outbreak in Baltimore at Fell’s Point. On September 12, 1793, Governor Thomas Lee issued a proclamation appointing Baltimore’s first health officers, Drs. John Worthington and John Ross.
In the United States in 1793 23 000 people out of population of 37 000 contracted yellow fever. Over 4 000 died from the disease. Citizens rallied to set up regulations such as cleaning the sickrooms. Providing hospital accommodations for the poor, keeping streets and wharves clean, encouraging hygienic measures, and having quick burials. People used vinegar and camphor on handkerchiefs to prevent infection and burned gunpowder in the streets.
- Fee, Elizabeth (January 1945). “Has Baltimore the Oldest Health Department?”. American Journal of Public Health. 35 (1): 49–50.
- Beilenson, Peter L.; Lambropoulos, A. Soula (August 1993). “Baltimore City Health Department: 200 years of progress and partnership”. Maryland Medical Journal. 42 (8): 729–733.
- Hilgenkamp K (2006).Environmental Health: Ecological Perspectives