Until recently, plagues were thought to belong in the ancient past. Now there are deep worries about global pandemics. This book presents views from anthropology about this much publicized and complex problem. The authors take us to places where epidemics are erupting, waning, or gone, and to other places where they have not yet arrived, but where a frightening story line is already in place. They explore public health bureaucracies and political arenas where the power lies to make decisions about what is, and is not, an epidemic. They look back into global history to uncover disease trends and look ahead to a future of expanding plagues within the context of climate change. The chapters are written from a range of perspectives, from the science of modeling epidemics to the social science of understanding them. Patterns emerge when people are engulfed by diseases labeled as epidemics but which have the hallmarks of plague. There are cycles of shame and blame, stigma, isolation of the sick, fear of contagion, and end-of-the-world scenarios. Plague, it would seem, is still among us.
Discusses the spread of infectious diseases and their impact on human populations, from the Black Death in medieval Europe to such modern diseases as AIDS and West Nile virus, as well as efforts to stop the spread of these diseases.
The story of viruses and humanity is a story of fear and ignorance, of grief and heartbreak, and of great bravery and sacrifice. Michael Oldstone tells all these stories as he illuminates the history of the devastating diseases that have tormented humanity, focusing mostly on the most famous viruses. Oldstone begins with smallpox, polio, and measles. Nearly 300 million people were killed by smallpox in this century alone and the author presents a vivid account of the long campaign to eradicate this lethal killer. Oldstone then describes the fascinating viruses that have captured headlines in more recent years: Ebola, Hantavirus, mad cow disease (a frightening illness made worse by government mishandling and secrecy), and, of course, AIDS. And he tells us of the many scientists watching and waiting even now for the next great plague, monitoring influenza strains to see whether the deadly variant from 1918--a viral strain that killed over 20 million people in 1918-1919--will make a comeback. For this revised edition, Oldstone includes discussions of new viruses like SARS, bird flu, virally caused cancers, chronic wasting disease, and West Nile, and fully updates the original text with new findings on particular viruses. Viruses, Plagues, and History paints a sweeping portrait of humanity's long-standing conflict with our unseen viral enemies. Oldstone's book is a vivid history of a fascinating field, and a highly reliable dispatch from an eminent researcher on the front line of this ongoing campaign.
A noted medical historian places recent outbreaks of deadly diseases in historical perspective, with accounts of other alarming and recurring diseases throughout history and of the ways in which humans have adapted. Reprint. 17,500 first printing.
Hate and Compassion from the Plague of Athens to AIDS
Author: Samuel Kline Cohn, Jr.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
In this study, Samuel K. Cohn, Jr. investigates hundreds of descriptions of epidemics reaching back before the fifth-century-BCE Plague of Athens to the 2014 Ebola outbreak to challenge the dominant hypothesis that epidemics invariably provoke hatred, blaming of the 'other', and victimizing bearers of epidemic diseases.
Upon its original publication, Plagues and Peoples was an immediate critical and popular success, offering a radically new interpretation of world history as seen through the extraordinary impact--political, demographic, ecological, and psychological--of disease on cultures. From the conquest of Mexico by smallpox as much as by the Spanish, to the bubonic plague in China, to the typhoid epidemic in Europe, the history of disease is the history of humankind. With the identification of AIDS in the early 1980s, another chapter has been added to this chronicle of events, which William McNeill explores in his new introduction to this updated editon. Thought-provoking, well-researched, and compulsively readable, Plagues and Peoples is that rare book that is as fascinating as it is scholarly, as intriguing as it is enlightening. "A brilliantly conceptualized and challenging achievement" (Kirkus Reviews), it is essential reading, offering a new perspective on human history.
Being sick is horrible. But it used to be worse. Inside this book, you'll see evidence of the plagues of the pastrotting skin, dissolving lungs, and sinister swelling all over the body. Diseases like the Black Death wiped out whole towns and villages. Tuberculosis consumed young people like a bloodsucking vampire. And Smallpox left its victims scarred for lifeif they survived. At the time, no one knew where these killer diseases came from or how to treat them. But eventually doctors discovered how these diseases and others were spread. Being sick isn't quite as sickening as it was in the past!
Epidemic diseases have always been a test of the ability of human societies to withstand sudden shocks. How are such large mortalities and the illness of large proportions of the population to be explained and dealt with? How have the sources of disease been identified and controls imposed? The chapters in this book, by acknowledged experts in the history of their periods, look at the ways in which the great epidemic diseases of the past--from classical Athens to the present day--have shaped not only our views of medicine and disease, but the ways in which people have defined the "health" of society in general terms.
Author: Dr. Alfred Jay Bollet, MD,Alfred Bollet Jay, MD
Publisher: Demos Medical Publishing
Since publication of the initial version of Plagues & Poxes in 1987, which had the optimistic subtitle "The Rise and Fall of Epidemic Disease," the rise of new diseases such as AIDS and the deliberate modification and weaponization of diseases such as anthrax have changed the way we perceive infectious disease. With major modifications to deal with this new reality, the acclaimed author of Civil War Medicine: Challenges and Triumphs has updated and revised this series of essays about changing disease patterns in history and some of the key events and people involved in them. It deals with the history of major outbreaks of disease - both infectious diseases such as plague and smallpox and noninfectious diseases - and shows how they are in many cases caused inadvertently by human actions, including warfare, commercial travel, social adaptations, and dietary modifications. To these must now be added discussion of the intentional spreading of disease by acts of bioterrorism, and the history and knowledge of those diseases that are thought to be potential candidates for intentional spread by bioterrorists. Among the many topics discussed are: How the spread of smallpox and measles among previously unexposed populations in the Americas, the introduction of malaria and yellow fever from Africa via the importation of slaves into the Western hemisphere, and the importation of syphilis to Europe all are related to the modern interchange of diseases such as AIDS. How the ever-larger populations in the cities of Europe and North America gave rise to "crowd diseases" such as polio by permitting the existence of sufficient numbers of non-immune people in sufficient numbers to keep the diseases from dying out. How the domestication of animals allowed diseases of animals to affect humans, or perhaps become genetically modified to become epidemic human diseases. Why the concept of deficiency diseases was not understood before the early twentieth century; disease, after all, was the presence of something abnormal, how could it be due to the absence of something? In fact, the first epidemic disease in human history probably was iron deficiency anemia. How changes in the availability and nature of specific foods have affected the size of population groups and their health throughout history. The introduction of potatoes to Ireland and corn to Europe, and the relationship between the modern technique of rice milling and beriberi, all illustrate the fragile nutritional state that results when any single vegetable crop is the main source of food. Why biological warfare is not a new phenomenon. There have been attempts to intentionally cause epidemic disease almost since the dawn of recorded history, including the contamination of wells and other water sources of armies and civilian populations; of course, the spread of smallpox to Native Americans during the French and Indian War is known to every schoolchild. With our increased technology, it is not surprising that we now have to deal with problems such as weaponized spores of anthrax.
Battling Black Death and the 1900 Burning of Honolulu's Chinatown
Author: James C. Mohr
Publisher: Oxford University Press
A little over a century ago, bubonic plague--the same Black Death that decimated medieval Europe--arrived on the shores of Hawaii just as the islands were about to become a U.S. territory. In this absorbing narrative, James Mohr tells the story of that fearful visitation and its fiery climax--a vast conflagration that engulfed Honolulu's Chinatown. Mohr tells this gripping tale largely through the eyes of the people caught up in the disaster, from members of the white elite to Chinese doctors, Japanese businessmen, and Hawaiian reporters. At the heart of the narrative are three American physicians--the Honolulu Board of Health--who became virtual dictators when the government granted them absolute control over the armed forces and the treasury. The doctors soon quarantined Chinatown, where the plague was killing one or two people a day and clearly spreading. They resisted intense pressure from the white community to burn down all of Chinatown at once and instead ordered a careful, controlled burning of buildings where plague victims had died. But a freak wind whipped one of those small fires into a roaring inferno that destroyed everything in its path, consuming roughly thirty-eight acres of densely packed wooden structures in a single afternoon. Some 5000 people lost their homes and all their possessions and were marched in shock to detention camps, where they were confined under armed guard for weeks. Next to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Chinatown fire is the worst civic disaster in Hawaiian history. A dramatic account of people struggling in the face of mounting catastrophe, Plague and Fire is a stimulating and thought-provoking read.
Why the World Is Getting Healthier in Worrisome Ways
Author: Thomas J. Bollyky
Publisher: MIT Press
Why the news about the global decline of infectious diseases is not all good. Plagues and parasites have played a central role in world affairs, shaping the evolution of the modern state, the growth of cities, and the disparate fortunes of national economies. This book tells that story, but it is not about the resurgence of pestilence. It is the story of its decline. For the first time in recorded history, virus, bacteria, and other infectious diseases are not the leading cause of death or disability in any region of the world. People are living longer, and fewer mothers are giving birth to many children in the hopes that some might survive. And yet, the news is not all good. Recent reductions in infectious disease have not been accompanied by the same improvements in income, job opportunities, and governance that occurred with these changes in wealthier countries decades ago. There have also been unintended consequences. In this book, Thomas Bollyky explores the paradox in our fight against infectious disease: the world is getting healthier in ways that should make us worry. Bollyky interweaves a grand historical narrative about the rise and fall of plagues in human societies with contemporary case studies of the consequences. Bollyky visits Dhaka—one of the most densely populated places on the planet—to show how low-cost health tools helped enable the phenomenon of poor world megacities. He visits China and Kenya to illustrate how dramatic declines in plagues have affected national economies. Bollyky traces the role of infectious disease in the migrations from Ireland before the potato famine and to Europe from Africa and elsewhere today. Historic health achievements are remaking a world that is both worrisome and full of opportunities. Whether the peril or promise of that progress prevails, Bollyky explains, depends on what we do next. A Council on Foreign Relations Book
A study of the great epidemic scourges of humanity over the last six centuries. It examines the connections between the movement of epidemics and the manifestations of imperial power in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Europe, showing how perceptions of whom a disease targeted changed over time.
This book represents a continuation and recapitulation of the previous work of Benedictow. It consists of a collection of papers concerning the controversies over the microbiological and epidemiological fundamentals of the plague epidemics in the past inspired by the European discussion conducted over the last 30 years in the Scandinavian research community.
Mapping deadly epidemics and contagion from the plague to the zika virus
Author: Sandra Hempel
Publisher: White Lion Publishing
Behind every disease is a story, a complex narrative woven of multiple threads, from the natural history of the disease, to the tale of its discovery and its place in history. But what is vital in all of this is how the disease spreads and develops. In The Atlas of Disease, Sandra Hemple reveals how maps have uncovered insightful information about the history of disease, from the seventeenth century plague maps that revealed the radical idea that diseases might be carried and spread by humans, to cholera maps in the 1800s showing the disease was carried by water, right up to the AIDs epidemic in the 1980s and the recent Ebola outbreak. Crucially, The Atlas of Disease will also explore how cartographic techniques have been used to combat epidemics by revealing previously hidden patterns. These discoveries have changed the course of history, affected human evolution, stimulated advances in medicine and shaped the course of countless lives.
Smallpox, yellow fever, malaria, and polio, fearful diseases that once beset Americans, are now largely, just unhappy history. Yet from our confrontations with these past plagues come lessons that inform today’s struggles to understand and remedy problems like HIV/AIDS, coronary heart disease, and Ebola infection. American Plagues weaves stories of encounters with epidemics over our history with lessons that aid our present understanding of health and disease. Doctors and clergy, writers and newsmen, public health institutions, and even an entire town relate their personal experiences with various outbreaks and the ways they were identified, contained, and treated. The stories are filled with ambition and accomplishment, jealousy and disappointment, public spirit and self-interest, egotism and modesty. Some episodes lead to vital discoveries. Others were unproductive. Yet each proved instructive and expanded our abilities to gather and process information in ways that improve medicine and public health today. American Plagues gives readers insights into some of the people and events that make up our rich public health history as well as skills to better grasp the complex health information that cascades upon us from the media.
This volume discusses diseases that affected human and non-human populations in areas stretching from the Red Sea and Egypt to Anatolia, the Balkans, and the Black Sea, in the early modern and modern eras. It tackles various questions of historiography and sources, tests new interdisciplinary methodologies, and asks new questions while revisiting older ones. Lastly, it contributes to Ottoman studies, the history of medicine, Mediterranean and European history, as well as global studies on the role of epidemics in history.