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Books, Journals, New Media
April 25, 2001

Childbed FeverThe Tragedy of Childbed Fever

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 2001;285(16):2133-2134. doi:10.1001/jama.285.16.2133

The screenplay of And the Band Played On, the late Randy Shilts' account of the early years of HIV in the United States, introduced its story with a terrifying brief segment about a 1970s Ebola virus outbreak in Africa. For many viewers it was the wake-up call to the mysteries and persistence of disease, despite the advances of recent decades that reduced or virtually eliminated scourges of earlier eras. Similarly, well into Irvine Loudon's satisfying new history of childbed, or puerperal, fever, readers are jolted by his account of that disease's brief but sudden and terrifying reappearance in Boston's 1965 "Rosebush-scratch epidemic" and the puzzling scientific questions left in its wake.

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