In the 1700s-1800s, dysentery was a disease causing many deaths. In fact, in some areas in Sweden 90 percent of all deaths were due to dysentery during the worst outbreaks. A new doctoral thesis in history from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, presents demographic and medical history of the disease.

Dysentery, or rödsot as it used to be called in Swedish, remains a major problem in developing countries. In the Western world, however, the disease is almost gone. Yet prior to the decline in infectious diseases among causes of death in the 1800s, Sweden was at times struck very hard by the disease, with catastrophic consequences.

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