Arlo Karlen, Man and Microbes

Chapter One: An Epidemic of Epidemics

Thesis: Not only has humankind failed to eradicate disease from the face of the earth, but instead disease-causing microbes are actually proving themselves more hardy and inventive than we could have imagined only a few years ago.

Study Questions

Notable Quotations -- Be able to discuss the importance of each of these statements.

Terms and Concepts-- Begin to become familiar with these terms and concepts; they will recur throughout the book.

Illustrative Anecdote

I have been reading recently in a book of biographical sketches of the Harvard Class of 1898. This volume was published on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the class, and I was surprised to see how many class members had already died, in many cases that would soon be conquered. This sample is the story of a young man who died of tuberculosis, a disease that was seeemingly conquered by mid-century, but then, as Karlen explains, became more dangerous again toward the end of the century. (BY, 1-15-01)

George Gordon Bronson, Born Wyoming, Iowa, November 30, 1874; Died Los Angeles, September 16, 1906

After leaving College George Gordon Bronson became associated in the mercantile business with his father in Wyoming, Iowa. After two or three years of successful business in the home town he developed a cough, which his physicians told him came from an acute bronchial trouble and advised a change of climate. In July, 1898, he went to western Kansas and there spent several months,and then went on to Tucson, Arizona. After some months there, he spent part of a year in Redlands, California. During this time he was not in business and his trouble had developed into tuberculosis of the lungs. He spent the time until he died in the Southwest, and became very much interested in mining. He entered the University of Arizona at Tucson, and after two years there gave his time and interest to mining. He was also an ardent Mason, and completed his Thirty-second Degree about two years ago, taking it at the Santa Rito Lodge of Perfection in Tucson. During the past summer he was for a couple of months in the California Desert near Daggett directing some mining operations, and on account of the heat went to Los Angeles in August, expecting to return to the work in the Desert in October. He never had a hemorrhage, and his strength and health were apparently very good and he was feeling well. On Sunday morning, September 16, while conversing with a friend he was taken with a violent hemorrhage from which he died without speaking in about five minutes. His only relatives are one brother, Rev. Dillon Bronson of Brookline, Massachusetts, and one sister, Mrs. W. C. Stuckslager of Lisbon, Iowa. Mr. Bronson's remains were brought to Wyoming, Iowa, and laid by the side of his father's, in the Bronson family burial lot in the Wyoming Cemetery, on September 22, 1906.

Harvard College Class of 1898, Twenty-fifth Anniversary Report, 1898-1923