17 March 2013

Typhus: Gresham Lecture

In the fifth lecture in a Gresham College series The Great Plagues: Epidemics in History from the Middle Ages to the Present Day Professor Sir Richard Evans discusses Typhus: the great unwashed. Typhus was caused by a bacterium hosted by the human body louse, and has thus always been associated with dirty and overcrowded conditions
At about 12 minutes into the lecture Evans discusses typhus in Canada in connection with the Irish immigration of the late 1840s when 20,000 are thought to have died. He illustrates the prejudice typhus promoted against the Irish in Canada and the USA. Later in the lecture he shows a parallel with the German Nazi treatment of the Jews in WW2.

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