Epidemics Then and Now
An examination of several plagues and epidemics, such as HIV and malaria, including a look at why some diseases die out quickly and others continue to plague humanity.
“Throughout history there have been many epidemic diseases. Perhaps the most famous in history is an insect-born disease known as the plague. But epidemics are not restricted to history books; several diseases still occur in epidemic proportions today. Despite the strides made in medical knowledge in the past century, diseases such as HIV and malaria still thrive. Understanding why some diseases seemed to die out on their own, while others persist in spite of extensive efforts to eliminate them, may explain what causes epidemics to thrive, and allow humans to predict the longevity and extensiveness of a particular disease. For example, a comparison of the plague with the modern malaria epidemic may explain which characteristics of a microbe help it survive in the modern world.”