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Diseases like the avian flu and SARS have garnered media attention over the past few years. This work covers both modern and historical epidemics and diseases, examining them from a cultural and societal perspective. Byrne, a historian of medieval and early modern Europe, developed this volume with help from an advisory board of specialists-including librarians-and over 100 contributors of various academic backgrounds. The book begins with a listing of over 300 entries and a guide to related topics section that shows the entries in categories such as biological causes of disease, epidemics and other historical disease outbreaks, and war. Some entries (e.g., "yellow fever") are specifically related to various countries or continents. Scattered throughout are sidebars from primary resources, such as passages from books and letters. In addition to a glossary, the encyclopedia concludes with an extensive bibliography of both electronic and print resources of interest to those needing more information.