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11. Serbia as a Health Threat to Europe: The Wartime Typhus Epidemic, 1914–1915

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides an overview of the deficiencies in Serbia during the epidemic typhus and of how it was finally brought under control. It discusses not only the development and the results of this dangerous mass disease, but also the implementation of different control strategies from national and international organizations. Furthermore, the chapter describes anti-epidemic controls as well as coercive measures that the population had to endure. Taking into consideration the medical experiments of physicians, the chapter analyzes the intentions, characteristics and consequences of medical missions and questions the predominant influence of foreign physicians. Finally, the issue of how the infectious disease was carried into Serbia and the consequential assignment of collective guilt will be observed critically. Serbia was not simply portrayed as a health risk and a source of danger for Western Europe; it became a synonym for death and disease.

Keywords: epidemic typhus; Europe; international organizations; Serbia



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