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This Element is an excerpt from Germs, Genes, & Civilization: How Epidemics Shaped Who We Are Today (9780137019960) by David P. Clark. Available in print and digital formats.
Fungal diseases and historical catastrophe: the Irish Potato Famine and beyond.
During the Middle Ages, fungal infections took a steady, continual toll rather than appearing occasionally in virulent epidemics. They rarely caused specific catastrophes but provided the backdrop to daily life--and death. Nonetheless, fungal diseases have sometimes caused historical catastrophes by destroying crops. The best-known case is the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-50....