In the Shadow of Death – The History of Epidemics

(6 x 30 minute episodes)

Modern medicine can be proud of its many successes. Life expectancy in industrial nations is higher than ever before. Illnesses such as smallpox seem to have been eradicated. But there are still many battles to be won in the war against microbes. The plague, the mass murderer of the middle ages, continues to raise its ugly head. Hundreds of thousands still fall victim to yellow fever. Every year, millions of people succumb to cholera, typhoid or AIDS.

"In the Shadow of Death" examines the history of great epidemics from the Black Death of the middle ages to the swine flu in the 21st century. Re-enactments show how physicians, scientists and researchers discovered the pathogens and how they are transmitted. Interviews with medical historians, physicians and epidemiologists help us to see the facts in their historic context and understand their significance in today's world.