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Articles on Plague

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Pericles Funeral Oration on the Greek 50 Drachmai 1955 Banknote. Shutterstock

Thucydides and the plague of Athens - what it can teach us now

Thucydides’ description of the plague that struck Athens in 430 BC is one of the great passages of Greek literature. It focusses on the social response, both of those who died and those who survived.
A scene from a 1911 staging of the ancient Greek classic ‘Oedipus Rex.’ Imagno/Getty Images

Plagues follow bad leadership in ancient Greek tales

Greek epics remind audiences that leaders need to be able to plan for the future based on what has happened in the past. They need to understand cause and effect.
What happened to make plague able to cause devastating epidemics, as in this depiction from 1349? Pierart dou Tielt/Wikimedia

Plague was around for millennia before epidemics took hold – and the way people lived might be what protected them

People caught and died from plague long before it caused major epidemics like the Black Death in the middle ages. Could what scientists call cultural resistance be what kept the disease under control?
A prisoner looks out a window on March 26, 2015, from Zhdanivskaya prison in Ukraine, were TB is rampant. AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov

Why community and not confinement will end TB

World TB Day will be observed March 24, with the good news that deaths from tuberculosis are declining. But a trend toward confining those with TB threatens to stall advances.
Pious drinking. Walter Dendy Sadler via Wikimedia Commons

Feeling guilty about drinking? Well, ask the saints

For those wondering whether it is sinful to drink, even moderately, a scholar goes into the history of alcohol and its distillation to show how early monks and priests contributed to it.
Uncollected rubbish provides food and shelter for rodents which can spread plague if they pick up the bacteria. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Explainer: understanding plague in the 21st century

Plague, one of the deadliest diseases in the world, has been reported in several African countries in the past decade.
How did Yersinia pestis bacteria start to target the lungs and become so deadly? National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

How Yersinia pestis evolved its ability to kill millions via pneumonic plague

It’s a deadly bacterium that can spread like wildfire. New research suggests Yersinia pestis first developed its ability to cause lung infection and then evolved to be highly infectious.
A model of the bubonic plague bacterium, which is known as Yersina pestis. Tim Evanson/Flcikr

Explainer: what is the plague?

Cases of plague have been reported in the Chinese city of Yumen, where a man has died of the disease. Control measures taken by the authorities include travel restrictions in and out of the city, and 151…

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