Each year, it seems, a new and deadly disease arises or an old epidemic breaks out - recently, eg, the return of diseases that we thought were history thanks to vaccines, diseases like Measles and Chicken Pox and recurring diseases that have no simple solution like Ebola. But diseases have played a profound role in the course of history from possible small pox epidemics in ancient times to the influenza epidemic of 1918-19 that killed more people than combat during WWI to the recent Ebola outbreaks or the cholera epidemic that has, just in the last few months, killed thousands in Yemen. In The Atlas of Disease: Mapping deadly epidemics and contagion from the plague to the zika virus, author Sandra Hempel not only gives a fascinating overview of many of the worst epidemics we have faced right up to the present but provides maps showing the countries affected by them, how the disease developed and spread and the pathways they took as they spread. She explains how cartographic techniques have been used to combat disease (eg. how John Snow identified the source of the 1854 cholera epidemic in London) and how this has helped to contain the spread of deadly pathogens.
For anyone interested in how epidemics and pandemics have changed our history and how mapping their spread, albeit just one weapon in the arsenal against them, has helped in the past and continues to help in containing them, The Atlas of Disease is a fascinating read and I recommend it highly.
Thanks to Netgalley and White Lion Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review