Tag Archives: infectious disease

When Papa Doc treated yaws

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   A patient with yaws prior to and two weeks after a single injection of benzathine penicillin. 1950s. From Kingsley Asiedu, Christopher Fitzpatrick, and Jean Jannin, “Eradication of Yaws: Historical Efforts and Achieving WHO’s 2020 Target.” PLoS Negl Trop Dis 8(9), 2014: e3016, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0003016. Via Wikimedia. CC BY 4.0. “Our Doc […]

Epidemic cholera and Joseph William Bazalgette

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom     Fig 1. Joseph Bazalgette. Photo by Lock & Whitfield. 1877. National Portrait Gallery London. Via Wikimedia Rampant epidemics of cholera took many lives in the Victorian era. These epidemics were finally overcome with the discovery that cholera was a waterborne infection and by massive reconstruction of the […]

“God Helps Them That Help Themselves”: Poor Richard and the inoculation controversy

Stewart Justman Missoula, Montana, United States   Poor Richard, 1739. An Almanack for the Year of Christ 1739. Benjamin Franklin Library of Congress Rare Book & Special Collections Division. Via Wikimedia. Before vaccination there was inoculation, and long before opposition to vaccination for Covid-19 there was furious resistance to the practice of inoculating for smallpox. […]

Pursuing Hualapai tigers in the Mule Mountains

Stephen A. Klotz Justin O. Schmidt Tucson, Arizona, United States   Figure 1. The culprit. Adult Triatoma recurva. Photo by Jillian Cowles. Published with permission. Every Monday afternoon after returning to my office from infectious disease clinic, I would find pickle jars and yogurt containers on my desk. Upon removing the lids and peering in, I […]

Malaria in defeat and victory

Richard J. E. Brown Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom   Lab work in progress at the Royal Navy School of Malaria and Hygiene, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), 1944. IWM Non-Commercial Licence © IWM A 28167. A few weeks ago, in the reading room of the National Archives in London, I came across the war diary of a […]

The forerunner

Shafiqah Samarasam Malaysia   Skyline in Kuala Lumpur with haze. 2004. Photo by Nesnad. Via Wikimedia. CC BY 3.0. Southeast Asia has experienced detrimental, large-scale air pollution for decades. Known as the “Southeast Asia haze,” this transboundary pollution is largely caused by illegal agricultural fires in the forests of Indonesia. The lingering smoke results in breathing […]

Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau and aeration of the White Plague

Philip R. Liebson Chicago, Illinois, United States   Photo from the Adirondack Experience Museum. Circa 1895. Edward Livingston Trudeau was born in 1848, one year before Frédéric Chopin died of tuberculosis. Trudeau’s extended family eventually included Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, and Garry Trudeau of Doonesbury fame. In his time tuberculosis was killing […]

The history of polio and cigarettes, and the need for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Daniel Gelfman Indianapolis, Indiana, United States   Polio Vaccine and Fundraising Matchbook. Photograph at the Science History Institute, Philadelphia. Photo Credit: Daniel Gelfman, July 3, 2021. Depicted in this display (Picture 1) at the Science History Institute in Philadelphia are technologic marvels. The first is a box that contained early vials of Dr. Salk’s formalin […]

Peter Panum and the “geography of disease”

Kathryne Dycus Madrid, Spain   Peter Panum. Scan from P. Hansens “Illustreret Dansk Litteraturhistorie”, anden meget forøgede udgave, 2. bind, 1902. Public Domain. Via Wikimedia. In 1846, the Faroe Islands experienced an outbreak of measles, the likes of which had not been seen in sixty-five years. The Danish government called upon a newly graduated physician, […]

The Call of the Wild and COVID-19

Liam Butchart Stony Brook, New York, United States Samantha Rizzo Washington DC, United States   Winter Scene in Moonlight. Henry Farrer. 1869. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought a terrible toll upon all of us and has brought the medical system—and the providers who inhabit it—to its knees. There is a […]