Business Standard

Trajectory of a killer disease

Vidya Krishnan been on the health beat for many years and meticulously documented weaknesses in global and Indian health policy, which have turned it into an unacknowledged pandemic

Phantom Plague

Phantom Plague: How tuberculosis shaped history; Author: Vidya Krishnan; Publisher: Penguin; Pages: 320; Price: Rs 799

Devangshu Datta
This book starts with anecdotes involving vampires, beheading corpses, and sweetening sour wine. All these esoteric activities have a bearing on the subject. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was inspired by stories of epidemics when people were buried alive.

Before tuberculosis (TB) was well-understood it was thought to be a “vampiric” disease. Infected families burned and beheaded the corpses of early sufferers under the belief that “undead” family members were sucking the vital force out of the still-living.

Vidya Krishnan then settles down into a solidly researched narrative of the trajectory of this killer disease. She’s been on the health beat for many years

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First Published: Jun 20 2022 | 11:35 PM IST

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