Typhus, Lice, and Fighting the Nazis

I completed the book entitled The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl yesterday, a little late but at least I finished (I am notorious for not finishing books). I had to stop reading it for a couple of days due to bad dreams about lice. Seriously.

Typhus is a serious febrile illness that is no longer common. It is spread by body lice (not head lice). The disease was well-known during wartime, especially in the trenches of World War I & II. It spreads quickly in crowded, unsanitary conditions where people are rarely able to wash or change clothes. When the Nazis herded the Jews of cities like Warsaw into ghettos, epidemic typhus struck explosively.

A Polish biologist named Rudolf Weigl began studying typhus during World War I. By WWII, when the Nazis occupied Poland, Weigl had developed a vaccine that was produced using live lice infected with the bacterium. Continue reading Typhus, Lice, and Fighting the Nazis