Friday, December 04, 2015

Medical history on line: Flu and Plague and SARS Oy veh

I was just checking out bubonic plague after listening to a boring lecture about the late Manchu empire of China...(no link...I downloaded it awhile back and just run these things in the background) and they mentioned the plague and small pox and the Vietnamese war of independence, but the guy didn't give a lot of details so he must have been talking to experts.

I knew that the third epidemic was bad, but it was worse than I thought.
First Plague epidemic was the plague of Justinian.
The second was the Black death.

The third Plague epidemic at Wikipedia

more HERE.

The third pandemic waxed and waned throughout the world for the next five decades and did not end until 1959, in that time plague had caused over 15 million deaths, the majority of which were in India. 
soldiers who served in Vietnam received Plague vaccine, and docs in the IHS saw a couple cases a year on the Navajo reservation, but I didn't run into any when I worked with the Apache (nor did we get any Hanta virus cases, although we had to watch out for them: One white lady in a nearby town was diagnosed with it, but none on our reservation).

the US Military has the textbook on biological warfare etc at the Bordon institute website....

they also have some books of medical history in the military.

an old now off line site called ER NURSE is still there via the cache, and their books on disaster medicine.can be found HERE. but some of the links are dead, alas.

Presumably you can also find these things on prepper sites.

Plague would probably not be a problem: kill the fleas and isolate the patients and and you control it.

And anthrax is not a danger, since it will kill the initial patients but not spread to others.

Smallpox is what a lot of folks worry about. That could result in a world wide epidemic

And then there is Bird flu, MERS, SARS, etc.
Ebola? Again something that can be controlled, unless you have someone like that bimbo nurse or that TV doctor who refused to stay in Quarantine.

Of course, if you really want to be paranoid, there are a lot more less fatal diseases out there. I just read the Philippines had 100 thousand cases of Dengue. Actually, since most cases are mild and not seen in hospitals, I suspect the number is higher. And then we have chikunguyga virus, which also makes you achy and sick.

If you want a very well taught course in epidemics, try this one at the OpenYale site.: Epidemics in western society since 1600.

Much of the stuff is basic (Stuff I already learned about in medical school). but if you aren't an MD or if you like medical history, you might try a download.

a classic book on the recurrent outbreak of the plague is Defoe's journal of the plague year (fiction: he didn't actually live then)...a modern version is Camus's The Plague, alas only available in French.

I have never gotten through World War Z, but a satire of how the government and people in different areas of the US might respond to a plaugue outbreak is found in the first few chapters of The Last Centurian. It made me laugh:

The language is bad, but the description of an American politicized response to a bird flu outbreak is all too realistic...

you see, I worked for the government, and know too well that bureaucrats tend to put paperwork and political correctness above what should be done.

If you get a disease like Ebola in a developing country, it will get out of hand because people aren't prepared for it, but another danger is coverup, as China did with SARS.

as for MERS, well, don't worry: we have had a few cases imported via our nurses from Saudi, and although it is dangerous, and can spread to you if you are close to an infected person, it doesn't really spread well from person to person.

However, you might want to wear a mask when you kiss your camel.

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