Historical studies of disease

Category archives for Historical studies of disease

As I’ve laid out this week (

As I mentioned yesterday, the epidemiology of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) was murky for several decades after it was first defined in the literature in 1955. In the ensuing decades, HUS was associated with a number of infectious agents, leading to the general belief that it was a “multifactorial disease”–one that had components of genetics…

It appears that the E. coli O104 sproutbreak is starting to wind down, with more than 3,500 cases diagnosed to date and 39 deaths. Though sprouts remain the key source of the bacterium, a recent report also documents that human carriers helped to spread the organism (via H5N1 blog). In this case, it was a…

Bubonic Plague in America

At the new blog Puff the Mutant Dragon, there’s a great pair of posts looking at the history of plague, with a focus on outbreaks that have occurred here in the US. Bubonic Plague in America, Part I: LA Outbreak Bubonic Plague in America, Part II: Undercover Science I’ll also link them in my Black…

In the United States, we tend to take our clean drinking water for granted. Even though there are periodic concerns which bubble up about pharmaceuticals or other chemicals in our water supply, we typically believe–with good reason–that we have little to fear when it comes to contamination from microbes. Our drinking water, while far from…

“Pox” by Michael Willrich

Next to Ebola, my favorite virus would probably be smallpox (Variola virus). I mean, now that it’s eradicated in nature, what’s not to love about the mysteries it’s left us–where it came from, why it was so deadly (or, not so deadly, as in the emergence of the “mild” form, variola minor), and will a…

This is great. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia has launched a site on The History of Vaccines. I’ve been poking around, and there’s an incredible amount of stuff to check out. They have a nice FAQ, Top 20 questions about vaccination, as well as some great activities (herd immunity! learn about Koch’s postulates! understand…

Via Bob O’H and Cath Ennis comes this truly bizarre article from the Virology Journal: “Influenza or not influenza: Analysis of a case of high fever that happened 2000 years ago in Biblical time”. Now, regular readers will know that I normally love this type of thing; digging back through history to look at Lincoln’s…

Student guest post by Raj Nair. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS) consisting of the brain and the spinal cord [1]. It is thought to be an autoimmune disease since individual’s immune system attacks their own healthy tissues [1]. However, studies to ascertain triggering factors…

Student guest post by Ron Bedford. The first week of February 2010 must have been some sort of Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) week. The New York Times ran a story about PPS on February 2nd. On the following Saturday, during the broadcast of the 2009 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship dog show, a Labrador Retriever named Benton…