Framing Animals as Epidemic Villains

Histories of Non-Human Disease Vectors

  • Christos Lynteris

Part of the Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in Modern History book series (MBSMH)

About this book


This book takes a historical and anthropological approach to understanding how non-human hosts and vectors of diseases are understood, at a time when emerging infectious diseases are one of the central concerns of global health. The volume critically examines the ways in which animals have come to be framed as ‘epidemic villains’ since the turn of the nineteenth century. Providing epistemological and social histories of non-human epidemic blame, as well as ethnographic perspectives on its recent manifestations, the essays explore this cornerstone of modern epidemiology and public health alongside its continuing importance in today’s world. Covering diverse regions, the book argues that framing animals as spreaders and reservoirs of infectious diseases – from plague to rabies to Ebola – is an integral aspect not only to scientific breakthroughs but also to the ideological and biopolitical apparatus of modern medicine. As the first book to consider the impact of the image of non-human disease hosts and vectors on medicine and public health, it offers a major contribution to our understanding of human-animal interaction under the shadow of global epidemic threat.


Infectious disease One Health Ebola Zika Bacteriology Parasitology Zoonotic Global health Epidemic control Tropical medicine Carriers and incubators Insects Mosquitos Rabid dogs

Editors and affiliations

  • Christos Lynteris
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social AnthropologyUniversity of St AndrewsSt AndrewsUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-26794-0
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-26795-7
  • Buy this book on publisher's site