May 05 2015
By B. Rose Huber and Bonelys Rosado
Source Woodrow Wilson School
Epidemics. Throughout history, they have obliterated populations and shattered economies. Crippling the public with fear, epidemics have disrupted society, politics and cultures. Some epidemics have been so deadly, so expansive that they've literally transformed our historical landscape.
Whether it was the Justinian Plague of the 6th century, the Black Death in the Middle Ages or HIV/AIDS in modern Africa, past plagues provide us with powerful lessons for the future. Now, as we grapple with the ongoing Ebola crisis – which has taken over 10,000 lives – we must not only look forward. We need to look back. We need to ask: What approach does Ebola warrant, and how can history help get us there?
In this WooCast, health historian Keith Wailoo discusses past plagues, how they were handled and the lessons learned.
Wailoo, vice dean of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School and Townsend Martin Professor of History and Public Affairs, is a panelist at the upcoming Princeton-Fung Global Forum, "Modern Plagues: Lesson Learned from the Ebola Crisis." Register for the forum.