miasma theory

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mi·as·ma the·o·ry

an explanation of the origin of epidemics, based on the false notion that they were caused by air of bad quality, for example, emanating from rotting vegetation in marshes or swamps.
References in periodicals archive ?
It used to be that finding evidence of toxins or contamination was impossible--not only were the molecules of toxin invisible, but the miasma theory of disease pretty much assured that people weren't looking for the right thing to identify organismic contamination.
Today's self-evident 'scientific truth' becomes tomorrow's quaint oddity to join etheric transmission and the miasma theory of disease propagation in the dustbin of scientific history.
John Snow, a London anesthesiologist and skeptic of the prevailing miasma theory of disease, constructed a map showing cases clustered around the Broad Street pump.
Chapter 2 goes into greater detail about Locke's debt to Bacon, his relationship with Boyle, and his own attempts at natural philosophy, ranging from experiments for Boyle on the pressure of gases in mines to attempts at epidemiology to test the miasma theory of disease.
The prevailing paradigm during this era was the miasma theory of disease, "which had been inherited from the ancient Greeks" (Dossey, 2000, p.