1887

Chapter 10 : Preventing Plagues

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Preventing Plagues, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

The Plague of Athens, described by Thucydides, raged for 4 years, during which time 25% of the population died. Many historians regard this plague as a “turning point” in the history of Western civilization. An antitoxin is one of many kinds of active materials found in immune serum after a foreign substance is injected into humans, rabbits, horses, chickens, mice, guinea pigs, monkeys, or rats; the general term for the active material is antibody. Toxoids made from diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus toxins are used to make a vaccine known as DPT. The Schick test for susceptibility to diphtheria also involves toxoid: a small amount of diphtheria toxoid is injected just under the skin; failure to react (i.e., failure to produce a red swelling—inflammation—at the site of injection) indicates a lack of protective immunity. Antibodies were found to be made up of a large number of amino acids; that is, they were proteins. In immune serum, the gamma globulin is increased, and that is where the antibodies were found. The gamma globulin that contains antibody is called immunoglobulin, because it is produced in response to the antigen, an immunogen. A key to understanding the protective mechanisms of the immune system is an appreciation of the role of the body’s bloodstream and lymphatic system. The majority of vaccines being developed today use new technologies: DNA vaccines and subunit vaccines (purified proteins or polysaccharides), as well as genetically engineered and virus-transmissible antigens.

Citation: Sherman I. 2006. Preventing Plagues, p 210-228. In The Power of Plagues. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816483.ch10
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Figures

Image of Figure 10.1
Figure 10.1

Prince Valiant rides to save the castle. Cartoon by Hal Foster. © King Features. (Courtesy of Manuscript Press.)

Citation: Sherman I. 2006. Preventing Plagues, p 210-228. In The Power of Plagues. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816483.ch10
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Image of Figure 10.2
Figure 10.2

Detail from the painting Diphtheria, attributed to a follower of Goya (1802–1812). The father is attempting to remove the membrane in the throat that is blocking the breathing of the child. From the collection of Dona Carmen Maranon Vinda de Fernandez de Araoz, Madrid.

Citation: Sherman I. 2006. Preventing Plagues, p 210-228. In The Power of Plagues. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816483.ch10
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Image of Figure 10.3
Figure 10.3

The immune system consists of tissue containing lymphocytes and lymphatic vessels that transport the cells from the lymphatic tissues and the antibodies secreted by lymphocytes, returning them to the bloodstream via the lymphatic and thoracic duct in the neck region. Lymphocytes are manufactured in the bone marrow and multiply in the thymus, the spleen, and lymph nodes.

Citation: Sherman I. 2006. Preventing Plagues, p 210-228. In The Power of Plagues. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816483.ch10
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Image of Figure 10.4
Figure 10.4

Louis Pasteur vaccinating sheep against anthrax using an attenuated form of the bacillus. All 25 sheep that had been vaccinated were protected, whereas those that did not receive the vaccine died.

Citation: Sherman I. 2006. Preventing Plagues, p 210-228. In The Power of Plagues. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816483.ch10
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References

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