Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Bubonic Panic

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Bubonic Panic

Article excerpt

By Gail Jarrow. $18.95. 197 pp. Calkins Creek. Honesdale, PA. 2016. ISBN: 9781620917381.

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This book is about the colonization of North America by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, more commonly known as the plague. It begins with a brief history of the plague, starting with its first recorded pandemic in the 500s and providing a basic overview of its different variants (bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic) and their respective symptoms and pathologies. Then it focuses on the first major outbreak of the plague from 1900 to 1908 in San Francisco, including the effects of the 1906 earthquake. The book concludes with an examination of how the fleas that carry Y. pestis have spread throughout the Southwest, making the occasional outbreak of the disease inevitable.

What makes this book so readable is the fascinating tale of the racism, bigotry, political chicanery, and ignorance that governed the response to the first outbreak of the plague in the United States. …

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