War as a Driver in Tuberculosis Evolution

by Michelle Ziegler Russia has been all over the news lately. Beyond our recent election, increased Russian activity on the world stage has public health consequences for Europe and farther afield. It has been known for a long time that post-Soviet Russia had and continues to have serious public health problems. One of their particular... Continue Reading →

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Beyond Germs: Native Depopulation in North America

Beyond Germs: Native Depopulation in North America. Edited by Catherine Cameron, Paul Kelton and Alan Swedlund. University of Arizona Press, 2015. With the number of emerging infectious diseases climbing and new revelations about plague's past, this book is a timely caution to the rhetoric surrounding so-called virgin soil epidemics. This book is the publication of... Continue Reading →

CFP: Medieval Landscapes of Disease (Extended)

Call for Papers Medieval Landscapes of Disease International Congress of Medieval Studies Kalamazoo, MI  May 12-15, 2016 Following on a successful session last year, I'm offering another session on Medieval Landscapes of Disease this year at Kalamazoo. In recognition that diseases are manifestations of their environment, this session seeks papers that place medieval diseases within... Continue Reading →

Syndemics and Historic Diseases

I've been looking for a model or framework to bring together interdisciplinary evidence on diseases of the past. There are a variety of disciplinary approaches but few that can readily incorporate very different types of evidence well. Apart from past discussions of discrete co-morbidities, the most common framework for understanding historic disease ecology has been... Continue Reading →

Plague in Surat: 20 Years Later

I can't let 2014 pass in a few weeks without mentioning that this fall was the twentieth anniversary of the plague outbreak in Surat, India -- a major turning point in modern plague history and in the development of the (re)emerging infectious disease paradigm. In the final accounting, 53 people died of plague, mostly pneumonic,... Continue Reading →

An Unnatural History of Emerging Infections

Ron Barrett and George Armelagos. An Unnatural History of Emerging Infections. Oxford University Press, 2013 (e-book) This is not a traditional review. In keeping with this blog's function as my shared file cabinet, this post will be something like a précis /notes with a few of  my comments in italics. Medical anthropologists Ron Barrett and George Aremelagos... Continue Reading →

Capturing Mid-Twentieth Century Medicine in Art

I've been reading some history of medicine and anthropology on re-emerging infectious disease lately. The label, 're-emerging' infectious disease, is a response to the mid-20th century attitudes when eradication was the goal for many, if not most, pathogens.  The eradication of smallpox will stand out all the more awesome because we now know it will... Continue Reading →

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