A fascinating examination of epidemic diseases within a historical context. * Describes the nature and evolution of diseases. * Explains how scientists discovered the causes of infectious diseases and outlines how controls were developed. * Examines the interrelationship between plagues and culture and details the ways this shaped the traditions and institutions of Western civilization. * Highlights current epidemics such as AIDS, cholera, tuberculosis, influenza, West Nile virus, mad cow disease, and others. * Addresses the public's curiosity with outbreaks and diseases of public health concern. This title is published by the American Society for Microbiology Press and distributed by Taylor and Francis in rest of world territories.