Carrier has its origins in carric_ā_re, the Latin word meaning “to cart.” In medical parlance, disease is “carted,” a freight transmitted by one individual, often unwittingly, to one or many others. Disease might be transmitted through viruses or bacteria shared between bodies or through a piece of genetic code passed on to an unborn child. In both cases, carriers of disease are socially maligned and stigmatized. Scholars in the health humanities have studied the causes and effects of such stigmatization, especially as race, class, gender, and disability often determine perceptions of and responses to disease carriers.

This essay may be found on page 25 of the printed volume.

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