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September 16, 1998

Epidemics and HistoryEpidemics and History: Disease, Power and Imperialism

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


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JAMA. 1998;280(11):1023-1024. doi:10.1001/jama.280.11.1023-JBK0916-3-1

For Sheldon Watts, epidemics and the progress of Western European imperialism were intimately related, because in every attack of pestilence the greed of the privileged few determined a definite prognosis among the many for the sake of global consumerism and social control. Even if Robert Koch in 1883 and 1884 found that cholera and tuberculosis were caused by specific microscopic organisms rather than undifferentiated contaminated air or miasma, the selfish creators of "Development" continued to advocate "Disease Constructs" for their advantage.

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