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    Typhus has been present in Central Europe and Russia since the 19th century; however it was not until 1918 that it became an epidemic problem in Poland. Poverty, general devastation, unsanitary living conditions, and the extensive spread of the disease forced the Polish government to organize effective measures to improve the population's health. One of such measures was establishing a typhus research center in Lviv. The center was led by Rudolf Weigl, who in the 1930s succeeded in elaborating a clinically effective vaccine. In September 1939, when the Germans invaded Poland, the problem of typhus returned, primarily due to the ghettos where the Nazis confined Jews in poor, crowded, and unsanitary conditions. Later, in 1941 when Nazis tried to invade the U.S.S.R. (where typhus was endemic), the typhus vaccine, the work of Weigl and Fleck (also an employee of the Lviv institute), was in high demand. The Germans feared typhus because of its persistence and speed of spread. The Nazi typhus phobia was also used by some Polish doctors who took advantage of this disease to protect their patients from being deported or located in camps. An example of such a doctor was Eugeniusz Łazowski, who even organized a "false pandemic" to save the local population.Copyright © 2022. Published by Elsevier Inc.


    Agnieszka Polak, Katarzyna Pawlikowska-Łagód, Anna Zagaja, Andrzej Grzybowski. Typhus works of Rudolf Weigl, PhD, Ludwik Fleck, MD, and Eugeniusz Łazowski, MD, against the Nazis. Clinics in dermatology. 2022 Feb 16

    PMID: 35182710

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