In the Blink of an Eye

The Deadly Story of Epidemic Meningitis

  • Andrew W. Artenstein

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Andrew W. Artenstein
    Pages 1-6
  3. Andrew W. Artenstein
    Pages 7-17
  4. Andrew W. Artenstein
    Pages 19-27
  5. Andrew W. Artenstein
    Pages 29-37
  6. Andrew W. Artenstein
    Pages 39-48
  7. Andrew W. Artenstein
    Pages 49-57
  8. Andrew W. Artenstein
    Pages 59-66
  9. Andrew W. Artenstein
    Pages 67-73
  10. Andrew W. Artenstein
    Pages 75-85
  11. Andrew W. Artenstein
    Pages 87-95
  12. Andrew W. Artenstein
    Pages 97-105
  13. Back Matter
    Pages 107-138

About this book


Describing more than two centuries of epidemic meningitis, In the Blink of an Eye introduces a deadly and frightening bacterial infection of the brain—one that afflicts healthy children and young adults in dramatic fashion, often changing or taking lives in just hours or days.  Meningococcal meningitis is the culprit—causing sporadic cases as well as explosive, unpredictable outbreaks of disease throughout the world—leading to the deaths of dozens to hundreds of thousands every year.  Beginning with the case of a healthy teenage boy who rapidly succumbs to the disease, the book traces meningitis through its various social contexts.  From the acceptance of the germ theory of disease and the birth of the sister sciences of microbiology and immunology in the nineteenth century to the modern molecular era, the story traverses more than 200 years of medical history.  It leads us through the early descriptions of the disease, its impact on military forces, large outbreaks of meningitis in Africa and elsewhere, and the evolution of approaches to its treatment, control, and prevention.  In so doing, we witness the development of modern medical research and education, the discovery of antibiotics, the rapid emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, the invention of a novel class of vaccines, and learn the inner workings of disease processes and the human immune system.  The story of meningococcal meningitis—winding through the evolution of infectious diseases, the great European capitals of nineteenth century science, the Rockefeller Institute, the dye industry, Nazi Germany, military medicine, the Vietnam era, and prospects for an end to epidemic disease—parallels the rise of modern medical science.

Authors and affiliations

  • Andrew W. Artenstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineBaystate HealthSpringfieldUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013
  • Publisher Name Springer, New York, NY
  • eBook Packages Medicine
  • Print ISBN 978-1-4614-4844-0
  • Online ISBN 978-1-4614-4845-7
  • Buy this book on publisher's site