By today’s standards, enteric fever, which includes typhoid and paratyphoid, is easily treatable and preventable – but in the days before antibiotics and vaccines, outbreaks of these diseases were so devastating that they could endanger entire civilizations. Researchers have known since 2006 that typhoid fever may have been responsible for the great “plague of Athens” in the 5th century B.C., which killed 100,000 people – a third of the city’s population – and led to the eventual dissolution of their empire. But enteric fevers’ ruinous impact did not stop there. As it turns out, enteric fevers may be responsible for the downfall of not one but two great civilizations.

Sabin President Peter Hotez, M.D, Ph.D., was honored yesterday evening with B’nai B’rith International’s Distinguished Achievement Award for advancing science and humanity, his commitment to enlightened leadership, and community service.

Meet Asim. In his low-income urban neighborhood in Pakistan, it can seem as if the one thing more widespread than typhoid is misinformation about typhoid. Crucial information on the prevention of the disease through handwashing, drinking clean water or receiving a vaccination is often missing in places where typhoid is endemic, leaving kids like Asim at high risk of suffering unnecessarily from preventable diseases.

For many of us born and raised in the United States, vaccines are a familiar part of our doctors’ appointments. But most of us don’t know that there is a complex logistical operation dictating exactly what vaccines we receive and when.

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