Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: John L. Zeller, MD, PhD, Contributing Editor.
Disease has influenced the course of human history as much as any force or phenomenon—war, famine, greed, religion, and weather.
Maybe more. Plagues in particular have hammered individuals and cultures throughout history. In the superb Twelve Diseases That Changed Our World, 10 of the featured maladies are caused by microbes: smallpox, bubonic plague, cholera, tuberculosis, syphilis,
influenza, malaria, yellow fever, AIDS, and the Irish potato blight.
Hemophilia and porphyria are the only noninfectious illnesses to make the list.
Miksanek T. Twelve Diseases That Changed Our World. JAMA. 2007;298(24):2914-2920. doi:10.1001/jama.298.24.2919