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What is yellow fever? – History of medicine

By |2018-04-15T17:01:43+00:00September 7th, 2017|Africa, Science|

Kids with yellow fever in Mississippi about 1870. See how all the people are white? The hospital wasn't letting black kids in, or hiring black women as nurses. The virus that causes yellow fever probably evolved from an earlier virus that didn't make people sick. The first cases of yellow fever may have been in East or Central [...]

What is typhus? History of diseases

By |2017-09-07T10:30:32+00:00September 7th, 2017|Science|

A woman with typhus Nobody seems to have caught typhus before about 1450 AD, so the disease probably didn't exist until then. Typhus is an infection caused by tiny germs (bacteria) that live inside animal cells, and most people caught the germs from lice, when the lice bit them (the lice die of typhus too). [...]

What is typhoid fever? History of diseases

By |2018-09-11T05:38:29+00:00September 7th, 2017|Science|

Typhoid fever: A person with typhoid rash (Iran) Is it typhoid or typhus? Typhoid fever isn't the same thing as typhus at all. You catch typhus from being bit by lice that have bitten people with typhoid, and you catch typhoid from drinking water with traces of human poop in it. (You can't catch typhoid from animals.) Find [...]

What is tuberculosis? History of diseases

By |2018-04-18T18:18:04+00:00September 7th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

A child with tuberculosis Tuberculosis is a lung disease caused by germs. Today we can usually cure it with antibiotics. But in antiquity there was no cure. Many people died of tuberculosis. One kind of tuberculosis seems to have infected people since the Paleolithic. It came to North America and South America with the first people, about 13,000 BC. This tuberculosis [...]

What was smallpox? History of disease

By |2018-04-15T17:01:43+00:00September 7th, 2017|Central Asia, Science|

A baby with smallpox (from the CDC) Smallpox was a very serious disease caused by a virus. Many people died of it. Smallpox caused little bumps on your skin, like chickenpox but much more serious. About two to five of every ten people who got smallpox died of it. There was (and is still) [...]

Influenza – History of Medicine

By |2018-04-25T17:10:21+00:00September 6th, 2017|Science|

Clay hen whistle from Mohenjo Daro (ca. 2700 BC, now in Brooklyn Museum) Influenza is a virus that mostly infects birds - like chickens - and pigs. But influenza can also attack people. Probably people started to get influenza around the time they started keeping chickens and living in cities - in China and India, about 3000 BC, in Greece about 500 BC, and in North [...]

Ancient diseases and doctors – History of medicine

By |2017-09-06T17:47:19+00:00September 6th, 2017|Egypt, Science|

Greek doctor letting blood out of a patient because he believes in the four humors Ancient doctors tried to cure everyone who was sick, but they did better with some diseases than with others. Let's look at some common diseases and see what Egyptian, Roman, or Islamic doctors were able to do about them: 1) the common cold virus: [...]

What is Tay-Sachs disease? Lysosomes and cell biology

By |2017-05-29T10:07:50+00:00May 29th, 2017|Biology|

Krystie has Tay-Sachs disease Tay-Sachs is a disease where your lysosomes aren't working right. It's a disease you get in your DNA from your parents. Both your mother and your father have to have the disease in their DNA in order for you to get it. It is not catching. One of the [...]