You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Arts

Book Review

‘Fever Season’ by Jeanette Keith

Recalling heroes and villains of 1878 yellow fever outbreak

It is hard to say which has had the greater effect on the course of historic events: the actions of specific individuals, or the external forces beyond human control. “Man plans and God laughs,” goes the Yiddish proverb. This is as true for tsunamis and hurricanes as it is for deadly outbreaks of infectious disease.

In the decades since mass vaccination put an end to polio in this country in the middle of the 20th century, we have mostly been spared fast-moving, deadly epidemics. It is, however, worth remembering that we still are vulnerable, especially to viruses such as influenza for which effective treatment may not exist or be widely available.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week