William Budd

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William Budd
William Budd2.jpg
Born (1811-09-14)14 September 1811
North Tawton, Devon, England
Died 14 January 1880(1880-01-14) (aged 68)
Clevedon, Somerset, England
Residence England
Citizenship England
Nationality English
Fields Physician, Epidemiologist
Alma mater University of Edinburgh
Known for Recognizing contagious nature of infectious diseases.

William Budd (14 September 1811 – 9 January 1880) was an English physician and epidemiologist known for recognizing that infectious diseases were contagious. He recognized that the "poisons" involved in infectious diseases multiplied in the intestines of the sick, were present in their excretions, and could then be transmitted to the healthy through their consumption of contaminated water.[1]

He particularly understood this about the transmission of cholera (as he learned from the work of the physician John Snow) and typhoid fever.

Early life and education[edit]

William Budd

William Budd was born in 1811 to an English physician and his wife. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1838. Six of his nine brothers also went into medicine.


In 1841 Budd moved to Bristol, where he started a practice and became part of the city's health department. Using his theory and reading John Snow's essay about cholera in London (1849), he took measures to protect the Bristol's water supply. He is credited with decreasing the incidence of deaths from epidemics of cholera from 2000 (out of a population of 140,000) in 1849 to 29 in 1866.[2]

The medical and scientific communities did not identify the role of microorganisms in infectious disease until the work of Louis Pasteur.

His obituary is found in the Lancet 1880;i: 148.

Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ Asimov, Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology 2nd Revised edition
  2. ^ Robert Moorhead, "William Budd and typhoid fever", J R Soc Med., 2002 November; 95(11): 561–564, Retrieved 7 March 2010