Epidemiology: A History

Laurent Hébert-Dufresne, Brendan Tracey

This essay is based on three stories: (i) John Snow and the Cholera outbreak of 1866 in London, (ii) the First World War and the Spanish Flu of 1918, (iii) the relationship of human resistance to Malaria with sickle cell disease. The first sets up the relatively recent creation of epidemiology. The second illustrates our incapacity to forecast and control epidemics. The last hints at the grey areas and complicated relationships in our understanding of diseases.