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How Plumbing (Not Vaccines) Eradicated Disease

Vaccines get all the glory, but most plumbers will tell you that it was water infrastructure – sewage systems and clean water – that eradicated disease, and they’re right.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Europeans despised all things Roman, including bathing. There was a widespread belief that getting wet caused illness. This contempt and fear of bathing persisted through the Dark Ages.

Some Europeans defied local customs by bathing, but this was usually done over great protest. When Queen Elizabeth bathed, her servants panicked, fearing she would become ill and die.