Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Contagious disease throughout the ages

Contagious disease is as much a part of our lives as the air we breathe and the earth we walk on. Throughout history, humankind’s understanding of disease has shifted dramatically as different cultures developed unique philosophic, religious, and scientific beliefs. From Galen in Ancient Rome to Walter Reed in the United States, the collective experiences of those before us have come to inform our present understanding of contagious disease. See how much you know about the history of contagious disease.

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Headline image credit: Copper engraving of Doctor Schnabel [i.e Dr. Beak], a plague doctor in seventeenth-century Rome, with a satirical macaronic poem (‘Vos Creditis, als eine Fabel, / quod scribitur vom Doctor Schnabel’) in octosyllabic rhyming couplets. Public domain Wikimedia Commons 

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