Forty-Day Quarantine: Keeping Plagues at Bay

The word "quarantine," comes from the Italian phrase quarantina giorni, 'forty days.' It referred to the fourteenth century regulation in Venice that required ships arriving from plague-infested countries to keep their distance from the port for forty days. As the Black Death claimed about fifteen million lives in Europe, the Venetian concern was quite well... Continue Reading →

It Began in Nzara: The First Ebola

It began in Nzara, a town inhabited by 20,000 people living in thatch-roofed houses within the dense woods in southern Sudan. Roughly five percent of the population worked in a large cotton factory that was owned by an even larger agricultural company. The factory kept detailed records of its employees' work hours, perhaps to keep close tabs on absenteeism. Fortunately, it also helped investigators track the pattern of a deadly virus transmission.

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