Adults who grew up with Apple IIs in the classroom in the 1990s have a nostalgia field day when you mention Oregon Trail in all its 8-bit glory. What you may not realize is the "You have died of ______" diseases can teach us a thing or two about water quality and sanitation, lessons that still affect us today.
  1. You have died of Dysentery.
    Eafddbee c67b 4e73 811e ed7f9e8dfbb0
    Dysentery is similar to cholera in its symptoms and transmission. In many strains, dysentery remains resistant to antibiotics today.
  2. You have died of Typhoid fever.
    F508a5fe ee42 464f ab3d afc0ae055cde
    Typhoid fever is contracted through infected food and drink, and those infected shed the bacteria in their stool and urine for days and weeks after the infection. Our archive uncovered typhoid fever cases near Sandusky, Ohio in the early 1900s with a huge spike in 1908. Today, typhoid still affects 5,000 Americans every year.
  3. You have died of Cholera.
    B6a58ea3 24f9 4900 bca0 22986a626965
    Cholera is a diarrheal illness caused by a toxic bacteria, usually transmitted in food or water contaminated with infected feces. A cholera outbreak hit Cleveland in 1832. And the disease is still considered a global pandemic today.
  4. Why this list matters
    Sewers, wastewater treatment, and infrastructure are water-quality advancements that help keep these diseases at bay. But around the world, struggles for proper sanitation continue.