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Aerosol Transmission of Human Pathogens: From Miasmata to Modern Viral Pandemics and their Preservation Potential in the Anthropocene Record

See — Ongoing uncertainty over the relative importance of aerosol transmission of COVID-19 is in part rooted in the history of medical science and our understanding of how epidemic diseases can spread through human populations. Ancient Greek medical theory held that such illnesses are transmitted by airborne pathogenic emanations containing particulate matter (“miasmata”). Notable Roman and medieval scholars such as Varro, Ibn al-Khatib and Fracastoro developed these ideas, combining them with early germ theory and the concept of contagion. A widely held but vaguely defined belief in toxic miasmatic mists as a dominant causative agent in disease propagation…
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