A Short History of Typhoid: Background information when reading Fever

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Fever by Mary Beth Keane
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2013, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2014, 320 pages

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Beyond the Book:
A Short History of Typhoid

Typhoid is a life-threatening illness caused by the bacteria Salmonella Typhi. Approximately 400 cases are found in the U.S. per year (mostly due to traveling) but it is prevalent in the developing world where a staggering 21.5 million people are infected per year, and 200,000 of those people die. Here is a short history of its origins, symptoms, and prevention.

History of Typhoid

Bust of PericlesBetween 430-424 BC an unidentified plague killed a full one third of the population of Athens. Among those who died was the the great general, orator and statesman, Pericles, the defacto leader of Athens. It was a major moment in time as it marked the end of the Golden Age of Pericles and shifted power in Greece from Athens to Sparta. Another famous Greek, the historian Thucydides, contracted this unidentified illness but didn't die, and it is his writing about this time that elucidates the outbreak.

Scientists argue about whether this plague was, in fact, typhoid fever. A 2006 study of ancient ...

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