A man nursing a sick person, circa 1850

Blaming People for Getting Sick Has a Long History

Four major theories of disease transmission dominated scientific discourse in the nineteenth century. As one scholar writes, all were political.
Navy Anti-Malaria Unit, Guadalcanal, circa 1942

The Origins of the CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began during World War II to prevent the spread of malaria to troops stationed in the South.
La Malaria by Auguste Hebert

Cracking the Malaria Mystery—from Marshes to Mosquirix

It took science centuries to understand malaria. Now we’re waiting to see how the 2019 vaccine pilot works.
A depiction of cholera by Robert Seymour

Disease Theory in Mary Shelley’s The Last Man

Shelley's third novel, about the sole survivor of a global plague, draws on the now-outdated miasma theory of disease.
A researcher works in a lab that is developing testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus in New Jersey

With the Coronavirus, Science Confronts Geopolitics

The containment of COVID-19 raises pressing questions related to the freedom of scientific information, civil liberties, and human rights, one scholar explains.
Illustration: A mob attacking the Quarantine Marine Hospital in New York because they believed that its use was responsible for the numerous yellow fever epidemics. Original Publication: Harper's Weekly - pub. 1858 (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Source: Getty

When New Yorkers Burned Down a Quarantine Hospital

On September 1st, 1858, a mob stormed the New York Marine Hospital in Staten Island, and set fire to the building.
A physician wearing a seventeenth century plague preventive costume

How the Plague Reshaped the World

The bacterium that causes the plague emerged relatively recently, as bacterium go. And yet the pandemics it's created have altered the world.

Scientists Are Putting Mosquitoes on Human Diet Drugs

Humans and mosquitoes share a surprising amount of genes and have similar hunger controls.
Ignaz Semmelweis

The Man Who Invented Modern Infection Control

He's hailed as the "father of infection control" and the "savior of mothers," but the truth about Ignaz Semmelweis is more complicated than that.
Antigua sugar cane slavery

Did Venereal Disease Lead to Abolition?

Many abolitionists seeking to end slavery in the British West Indies were concerned less with human rights, more with the preponderance of interracial sex.