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This Element is an excerpt from Germs, Genes, & Civilization: How Epidemics Shaped Who We Are Today (9780137019960) by David P. Clark. Available in print and digital formats.
Infectious microorganisms: They're history's worst killer-and still more dangerous than you think.
Infectious diseases from microorganisms have caused the most deaths by far throughout recorded human history. In this respect, our own age is peculiar. Thanks to modern technology, we mostly live long enough to worry about heart disease and cancer. But throughout history, most people met their end from infections caused by microorganisms, and this is still true for some Third World countries....