Tag Archives: Diphtheria

Children treating children: Anne Shirley as clinician

Kathryne Dycus Madrid, Spain   First edition cover of Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, published 1908. Cover art by George Fort Gibbs (1870—1942). Public Domain. Childhood classics provide a range of illness narratives, reminding readers of dangers now preventable and even treatable, but also of the universal imperatives of understanding and accommodating […]

Intubation for diphtheria

In 1904 diphtheria was a dangerous killer that suffocated its victims by obstructing the respiratory passages and sometimes required an emergency but dangerous surgical tracheostomy. In this painting a specialist in infectious diseases is avoiding tracheostomy by inserting a tube to bypass the obstruction. He is observed intently by interested physicians, all watching this new […]

How conflict and bureaucracy delayed the elimination of yellow fever

Edward McSweegan Kingston, Rhode Island, United States   Army Surgeon General George Miller Sternberg, Wikimedia The Golden Age of Bacteriology (1876-1906) saw the emergence of techniques to cultivate bacterial pathogens and develop vaccines and anti-toxin therapies against them. The new bacteriologists rapidly identified the agents causing anthrax, gonorrhea, typhoid, tuberculosis, cholera, tetanus, diphtheria, plague, and […]

El garrotillo: on diphtheria and Goya

Vicent Rodilla Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera, Valencia, Spain     Figure 1. El Garrotillo by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1808-1812). Private collection. Diphtheria is a bacterial infectious disease caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae that affects mostly children. Although by 2017 some 85% of infants worldwide have been vaccinated for DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis), some 19.9 million children remain […]

The Grasshopper by Chekhov: folly and regrets

Diphtheria in the days of writers such as Chekhov and Goncharov was a common disease that spread death and devastation across the wide expanse of the Russian Empire. It could kill its victims by its toxic effects on the heart but more often suffocated them with a grayish white membrane in their throat and nasal […]