Consequences of the Famine
Research suggests that of the one million or more people who died during the
famine in 85/90 % of cases death was caused by fever/disease rather than starvation.
The main diseases which became epidemic during the famine included;
Transmitted by lice, known as ‘’Black Fever’’ The death rate was very high.
Recurring Fever, transmitted by lice.
Diarrhoea, not usually fatal except to children, caused by the sparsity of diet and liquid diets.
Transmitted by infected persons handling food supplies. It caused death in many cases.
Swelling of the limbs and then the body until the body finally burst.
Also called ‘’Black Leg’’. It caused joints to become enlarged, Teeth to fall out and the blood vessels under the skin to burst, caused by the lack of vitamin C in the diet.
Affected the eyes, especially of children, causing blindness, generally in one eye. Over 13,000 cases were recorded in 1849 and 27,000 cases in 1850. Caused by lack of vitamin C in the diet.
The famine led to growing arrears in rent and rates among small farmers that led to a wave of evections. The evicted families could not be given shelter by relatives or friends or they too would be evicted.
They sought shelter in ditches or bog holes, tried to enter the workhouse or wander the roads until they succumbed to disease and death.