The Origins of Infectious Disease

9 Jun, 2011 570 Biology

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the origins of infectious disease. Infectious disease has been with us for millennia. There are reports of ancient outbreaks of plague in the Bible, and in numerous historical sources from China, the Middle East and Europe. Other infections, including smallpox, tuberculosis and measles, have also been known for centuries. But some diseases made their first appearances only recently: HIV emerged around a century ago, while the Ebola virus was first recorded in the 1970s.But where do the agents of disease come from, and what determines where and when new viruses and bacteria appear? Modern techniques allow scientists to trace the histories of infective agents through their genomes; the story of disease provides a fascinating microcosm of the machinery of evolution.

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  • Steve Jones 22 episodes
    Professor of Genetics at University College London
  • Sir Roy Anderson No other episodes
    Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London
  • Mark Pallen No other episodes
    Professor of Microbial Genomics at the University of Birmingham

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Auto-category: 570 (Biology)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, in his History of the Wars, the historian Procopius of Caesarea records a dreadful event which befell Byzantium in the year 542.