The history of the world is intertwined with the impact that infectious diseases
have had on populations. Evidence of smallpox has been found in 3000-year-old Egyptian mummies and Egyptian papyrus paintings depict infectious diseases such as poliomyelitis. Hippocrates wrote about the spread of disease by means of airs, water, and places, and made an association between climate, diet, and living conditions. And the Black Death of the 14th century had been the deadliest disease in history – until only recently being overtaken by AIDS.
In 1962 control and prevention measures, including the use of antibiotics and the development of vaccines, had decreased the incidence of many infectious diseases. It therefore seemed entirely logical for the Nobel prize winner Sir Macfarlane Burnet to state ‘By the end of the Second World War it was possible to say that almost all of the major practical problems of dealing with infectious disease had been solved.’Read More