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The threat of unstoppable plagues, such as AIDS and Ebola, is always with us. In Europe, the most devastating plagues were those from the Black Death pandemic in the 1300s to the Great Plague of London in 1665. For the last 100 years, it has been accepted that Yersinia pestis, the infective agent of bubonic plague, was responsible for these epidemics. Biology of Plagues combines modern concepts of epidemiology and molecular biology with computer-modelling. Applying these to the analysis of historical epidemics, the authors show that they were not, in fact, outbreaks of bubonic plague. Biology of Plagues offers a completely new interdisciplinary interpretation of the plagues of Europe and establishes them within a geographical, historical and demographic framework. This fascinating detective work will be of interest to readers in the social and biological sciences, and lessons learnt will underline the implications of historical plagues for modern-day epidemiology.
2. Epidemiological concepts
3. The biology of bubonic plague
4. The Great Pestilence
5. Case study: the plague at Penrith in 1597–98
6. Pestilence and plague in the 16th century in England
7. Plagues in the 16th century in northern England: a metapopulation study
8. Plagues in London in the 17th century
9. Plagues in the provinces in the 17th century
10. Plague at Eyam in 1665–66: a case study
11. Continental Europe during the third age of plagues: a study of large-scale metapopulation dynamics
12. The Plague at Marseilles, 1720–22: an outbreak of bubonic plague?
Susan Scott is a research worker in historical demography in the School of Biological Sciences, at the University of Liverpool. Christopher J. Duncan is Emeritus Professor of Zoology also in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Liverpool.
"Biology of Plagues is a fascinating read for those interested in the history of infectious disease and it is provocative and thought provoking."
– Richard W. Titball, The Lancet
"[...] the authors of this challenging book are to be commended for bringing together much fascinating information about plagues."
– The Times Higher Education Supplement
"Filled with scientific and historical data, Biology of Plagues will provide ample fodder for not only historians and sciences interested in the study of historic epidemics, but also for modern day public health experts who not only have to deal with current outbreaks, but also future outbreaks of both well-known and novel diseases."
– Anna Dogole, History in Review