Disease Maps: Epidemics on the Ground

Disease Maps: Epidemics on the Ground

by Tom Koch

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In the seventeenth century, a map of the plague suggested a radical idea—that the disease was carried and spread by humans. In the nineteenth century, maps of cholera cases were used to prove its waterborne nature. More recently, maps charting the swine flu pandemic caused worldwide panic and sent shockwaves through the medical community. In Disease Maps, Tom Koch contends that to understand epidemics and their history we need to think about maps of varying scale, from the individual body to shared symptoms evidenced across cities, nations, and the world.  

Disease Maps
begins with a brief review of epidemic mapping today and a detailed example of its power. Koch then traces the early history of medical cartography, including pandemics such as European plague and yellow fever, and the advancements in anatomy, printing, and world atlases that paved the way for their mapping. Moving on to the scourge of the nineteenth century—cholera—Koch considers the many choleras argued into existence by the maps of the day, including a new perspective on John Snow’s science and legacy. Finally, Koch addresses contemporary outbreaks such as AIDS, cancer, and H1N1, and reaches into the future, toward the coming epidemics. Ultimately, Disease Maps redefines conventional medical history with new surgical precision, revealing that only in maps do patterns emerge that allow disease theories to be proposed, hypotheses tested, and treatments advanced.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226449401
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 06/01/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 344
Sales rank: 843,351
File size: 17 MB
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About the Author


Tom Koch is adjunct professor of medical geography at the University of British Columbia; director of Information Outreach, Ltd.; and a prolific writer, researcher, and public speaker specializing in the fields of, gerontology, bioethics, medical cartography and public health. He is the author of fifteen books, including most recently Cartographies of Disease.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Part I. The Idea That Is Disease

Chapter 1. Moving Forward: Cartographies of Disease

Chapter 2. Mapping Symptoms, Making Disease

Chapter 3. Body and World: The Sixteenth Century

Chapter 4. Diseases in Cities: The Neighborhoods of Plague

Chapter 5. The Yellow Fever Thing

Part II. Cholera: The Exemplar

Chapter 6. “Asiatic Cholera”: India and Then the World

Chapter 7. Bureaucratic Cholera

Chapter 8. John Snow’s Cholera

Chapter 9. South London Choleras: William Farr, John Snow, and John Simon

Chapter 10. Choleric Broad Street: The Neighborhood Disease

Chapter 11. Cholera, the Exemplar

Part III. The Legacy and Its Future

Chapter 12. Cancer as Cholera



Notes on the Illustrations

Illustration Credits


Works Cited and Consulted


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Disease Maps: Epidemics on the Ground 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
wcarter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One would expect a book entitled Disease Maps would be a book full of maps with appropriate commentary. Instead this is a book full of commentary about maps, some of which are illustrated. Many maps are described but not illustrated.Unfortunately, most of the maps included are far too small to read, even with a magnifying glass. Some enlarged inserts are included, but one insert asking the reader to compare Copenhagen and London with German cities shows only the German cities.There are also numerous typos such as "1855 to 1805" (should be "1755 to 1805") and one map of India is captioned as being of England.This book should have been a much larger format, in order to reproduce the maps at a better scale, and should have included all the maps described.I am a lover of maps, not diseases, and so am very disappointed in this volume.