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Epidemiology

  This online collection offers important historical perspectives on the science and public policy of epidemiology today and contributes to the understanding of the global, social–history, and public–policy implications of diseases. Contagion: Historical Views of Diseases and Epidemics is a digital library collection that brings a unique set of resources from Harvard’s libraries to Internet users everywhere. Offering valuable insights to students of the history of medicine and to researchers seeking an historical context for current epidemiology, the collection contributes to the understanding of the global, social–history, and public–policy implications of disease.

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About the collection The AIDS Poster Collection consists of 625 posters from 44 countries including Australia , Austria , Canada , China (and Hong Kong ), Costa Rica , France , Germany , India , Japan , Luxembourg , Martinique , the Netherlands , New Zealand , Papua New Guinea , Poland , Portugal , Spain , Switzerland , Tahiti , Uganda , the United Kingdom , and the United States . The posters were issued by a variety of institutions and organizations to educate and warn people about AIDS and to offer advice and information in visual form. Some are more blunt and graphic than others, and they come in many styles.

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History of Medicine Epidemic cholera is an acute, painful, and often fatal disease which ravaged nearly the entire world during several severe outbreaks over the course of the 19th century. It is a diarrheal disease which can cause death by dehydration to an untreated patient in a matter of hours and is extremely contagious in communities without adequate, modern sanitation, as most of the world was in 1817 when it first left India. News of its spread and impending approach often sent panic into entire nations, and health professionals were largely at a loss as to how to treat or prevent it until modern epidemiological and laboratory techniques were developed later in the century.

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The Threat   Throughout the last three thousand years, smallpox has shadowed civilization. A viral infection, the disease spread along trade routes, emerging first in Africa, Asia and Europe and reaching the Americas in the sixteenth century. Because smallpox requires a human host to survive it tended to smolder in densely populated areas, erupting in a full-blown epidemic every ten years or so. Wherever it appeared, the legacy of smallpox was death, blindness, sterility and scarring.     While some medical practitioners claimed to cure smallpox, most medical traditions focused on prevention.

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The Deadly Virus True or False? The Influenza Epidemic of 1918 killed more people than died in World War One. View the Documents and Photos Hard as it is to believe, the answer is true. World War I claimed an estimated 16 million lives. The influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918 killed an estimated 50 million people. One fifth of the world's population was attacked by this deadly virus. Within months, it had killed more people than any other illness in recorded history. The plague emerged in two phases. In late spring of 1918, the first phase, known as the "three-day fever," appeared without warning. Few deaths were reported. Victims recovered after a few days. When the disease surfaced again that fall, it was far more severe.

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