Outbreak! English Sweating Sickness

Hey lovelies!

I know I am a bit late on posting here. I went home to visit my parents for two weeks and, because I only see them one or two times a year, I decided it would be best to spend time with them–full time. I didn’t want to have any regrets. I hope you can understand!

Okay, let’s get to the rest of the post. Today I will be talking about some of the diseases that I have read about in Outbreak! by Beth Skwarecki. If any of these diseases spark your interest, I encourage you to do some research of your own and learn more!

Outbreak!: 50 Tales of Epidemics that Terrorized the World
credit: barnesandnoble.com

First impressions of the book overall:

The author does a nice job of putting each disease in an historical context. I think this a great aspect of the book because you are not only learning about the disease itself, but you are learning about the possible impacts that it had on our way of living and the course of history.

Another aspect I have really enjoyed about the novel thus far is that sometimes it feels like you are reading a mystery novel. There are some diseases that cannot be linked to known organisms today (sweating sickness or the plague of Athens). On that note, the author does a nice job of highlighting plagues and illnesses that are less commonly heard of. That is to say that this novel is not just about the various instances of Smallpox or the Bubonic Plague.

I think one minor aspect of the book that I have disliked is the ever so slight negative tone towards “primitive” ways of thinking. While it is most likely not the author’s intention, the attitude towards religious ways of thinking on disease comes across negatively. During earlier periods, we did not know much at all about diseases and it was logical that people of the time thought they were being punished in some way by God or the gods as religion was one of the tools they often drew upon.

Okay, okay… Without further ado, continue reading for some information on one of the diseases that I have read about thus far.

See the source image
Credit: https://www.ranker.com/list/history-of-medieval-sweating-sickness/melissa-sartore

Sweating Sickness–Unknown Disease, England 1485

As the name indicates, this disease caused excessive sweating and fever. The disease killed hosts within hours and had a fatality rate of 50 percent. Thankfully, the threat level today is low. It is thought that the causative agent of the disease died off or it is still living amongst us just in a different form.

The causative agent of this disease is unknown; however, it is thought to have been caused by an organism belonging to the genus Hantavirus. For those of you who are not familiar with the genus Hantavirus, the viruses are usually single stranded RNA viruses. This genus typically causes acute respiratory illnesses in humans. (For more information, visit: https://www.britannica.com/science/hantavirus)

Another possible causative agent proposed is a corkscrew bacterium spread by tics or lice. This bacterium can alter its structure to evade the immune system, which would ultimately cause a relapse in symptoms. However, it is more generally accepted that sweating sickness was caused by a virus from the genus Hantavirus.

See the source image
This is what a corkscrew bacterium looks like! Credit: Spirilla Bacteria. SCIEPRO/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

According to the novel, sweating sickness might have been responsible for the death of the Prince of Wales (Arthur) in 1502 , which allowed Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII to later ascend to the throne.

Finally, many believed that the disease was caused by evil behaviors and the reason is caused sick peoples to sweat was because they were literally sweating out the evil or poison from inside them.

For more information on sweating sickness, the author provides more reading material: The Sweating Sickness: Unknown Disease, England 1485. Hecker, J.F.C., B.G. Babington, and John Caius. The Epidemics of the Middle Ages. 1859. London: Trubner.

What did you guys think of my mini review of Outbreak! and the chapter on Sweating Sickness? Let me know in the comments below!

Posts to look out for:

  1. More reviews on interesting or mysterious diseases from Outbreak! by Beth Skwarecki.
  2. “Oldies but Goodies” post about books that I personally find timeless.

Catch up with you guys next week!

Maya

Mini Book Haul!

Hello bookworms! Happy Wednesday!

I have recently visited to Barnes and Noble (multiple times 😃) and picked up some books! And I thought I would share what I purchased with you guys. A couple of them are a little different than what I would normally read in my leisure time. I daresay they are similar to some books that I read during my time in undergrad… 😮 This got me thinking how it is interesting how one’s literary interests grow after reading so many different types of literature over the course of four years. Have you noticed how your reading horizons have expanded as a result of school or recent events such as the pandemic?

Here is a (small) list of the books that I have recently purchased:

  • After by Anna Todd
After (After Series #1)
Credit: barnesandnoble.com
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (currently reading)
Outlander (Outlander Series #1)
Credit: barnesandnoble.com

Synopsis from the back of the book: Unrivaled storytelling. Unforgettable characters. Rich historical detail. These are the hallmarks of Diana Gabaldon’s work. Her New York Times bestselling Outlander novels have earned the praise of critics and captured the hearts of millions of fans. Here is the story that started it all, introducing two remarkable characters, Claire Beauchamp Randall and Jamie Fraser, in a spellbinding novel of passion and history that combines exhilarating adventure with a love story for the ages.

  • Outbreak! 50 Tales of Epidemics that Terrorized the World by Beth Skwarecki (Also currently reading)
Outbreak!: 50 Tales of Epidemics that Terrorized the World
Credit: barnesandnoble.com

Synopsis from the back of the book: Throughout history–even recent history–highly contagious, deadly, and truly horrible epidemics have swept through cities, countrysides and even entire communities.

  • A Short History of Medicine by Steve Parker
A Short History of Medicine
Credit: Barnesandnoble.com

Synopsis from the back of the book:

From ancient ideas about anatomy to today’s sophisticated gene therapies and robotic surgery, A Short History of Medicine combines riveting storytelling and beautiful images, historical accounts and lucid explanations, to illuminate the story of medicine through the ages.

Can you guess what my major was?

biology Poster | Science doodles, Biology, Paper background
Credit: https://tr.pinterest.com/pin/171910910764480440/

The first two books that I bought are more of the novels that I would have normally bought, but the last two are books that cover topics I have always found interesting, similar to the readings in school. However, never have I actually purchased a book based on said topics. Personally, I think it is a nice way to switch it up! If I don’t feel like reading Outlander at the moment, I can easily pick up at any time Outbreak! or A Short History of Medicine as they aren’t really heavily dependent continuity-wise between chapters like a typical fictional narrative or fantasy novel. I think that this was definitely a selling point for me–that you can pick up the book at any time without having to recount previous events in the storyline–as well as the fact that they are science related and I love learning about diseases!

I will definitely write up what my thoughts on these books, but I was thinking of doing something differently this time. Specifically, for Outbreak! just because it is different than the traditional novel. I was thinking of writing a summary of every few chapters. We can learn about epidemics together! Be on the lookout for those posts in the future weeks. 😊

What do you guys think of the reads that I picked up? Would you read any of them? Let me know in the comments!

That is all I have for today! Keep and eye out for a post about some of the diseases I read about in Outbreak! and my thoughts on those chapters!

Maya

I am BACK!🙊

Hey guys! I know I have been away for a while. Okay, okay… a LONG while. BUT… I am back. I have graduated from university and I am currently enjoying a break so I figured I would get back to reading… and blogging!

I am going to try and upload at least once a week. I have not read for quite some time so it may take me a couple of weeks to get back into things. I mean, I have read, but not leisure reading. Currently, I am reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Once I finish the book I will definitely upload my thoughts. In the meantime, I will finish any unfinished drafts that I have so I can upload those once a week!

It feels great to be back. I am so sorry that I have been gone for such a long time. I hope you can understand!

-Maya