Tag Archives: Infectious Diseases

Review: The History of the World in 100 pandemics, plagues and epidemics

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover: The History of the World in 100 pandemics, plagues and epidemics. The publication of this book could not have been better timed. The book sets out to show how pandemics, epidemics, and infectious diseases have shaped human history over the last 5,000 years. Its contents help us […]

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, […]

A return to The Plague

Bonnie Salomon Chicago, Illinois, United States   Cover of 1991 edition of The Plague by Albert Camus. For the past fifteen months, I have been reading and returning to Albert Camus’ 1947 novel, The Plague. Chronicling a fictional plague epidemic in Oran, Algeria, the narrator Dr. Rieux tells the saga of a city’s horrific struggle. […]

The history of quarantine and contact tracing as surveillance strategies

Mariella Scerri Victor Grech Malta   A view of the city of Malta, on the side of the Lazaretto or pest-house, where ships perform quarantine, by Joseph Goupy, around 1740-1760. Public Domain. Source. Quarantine, from the Italian quaranta, meaning forty, is a centuries-old public health measure instituted to control the spread of infectious diseases by […]

The other Timothy Leary

Saty Satya-Murti Santa Maria, California, United States   Figure-1: Timothy Leary at work, circa 1920. Credit: Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University. Source Most people know the name of Timothy Leary as an American counterculture guru and psychologist who had a massive following in the mid-twentieth century. He invoked the names of Gandhi, Jesus, and […]

Origin of yellow fever

Enrique Chaves-Carballo  Kansas City, Kansas, United States   Henry R. Carter (1852-1925), Public Health Service Assistant Surgeon General and yellow fever epidemiologist. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) The origin of yellow fever has been a controversial subject since the disease appeared in the New World. William C. Gorgas, who was responsible […]

A historical analysis of the military’s method of anti-malaria health education through print

Pavane L. Gorrepati  Iowa City, Iowa, United States   The fight against malaria has largely been successful because of modern scientific advances, but during World War II the fight was supplemented by propaganda posters warning soldiers about malaria just as they were warmed against venereal diseases. Everyone was expected to aid the war effort—women to […]

Simon Flexner, infectious diseases pioneer

Simon Flexner. circa 1930s. Courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center. Source, Infectious diseases shaped the life of Simon Flexner, who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most successful and prominent scientists in American medicine. His contributions to the field of infectious diseases were legion. He became the first chairman of pathology at […]

Giovanni Boccaccio on pandemics past and present

Constance Markey Chicago, IL   The plague of Florence, 1348; an episode in the Decameron by Boccaccio. Etching by L. Sabatelli the elder after G. Boccaccio. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)) Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) is universally celebrated for his masterpiece The Decameron, an appealing assemblage of one hundred loosely connected novellas, […]