A public health expert discusses centuries of fighting infectious disease, with a focus on early Boston

Dan Falk in Undark:

Boston is one of America’s oldest cities — and one that has arguably fought the lengthiest battles with infectious disease. It is, as Charles Vidich puts it, the “most quarantine tested city in America.”

For more than three and a half centuries, the city’s leaders have struggled to develop strategies for keeping citizens safe from communicable disease. Boston’s situation was unique, Vidich explains, because of its role as a major center of trade and commerce; because many of its quarantine strategies were copied by other cities; and because, thanks to the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s charter, it had a significant degree of independence in terms of setting policy.

Investigating this history has been a lifelong project for Vidich, a consultant on public health and bioterrorism issues. He’s also been a visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, where he spent a decade working on quarantine policy.

More here.