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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 Plagues

Health Studies
Course Code
Caroline Barakat

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- predominant diseases during hunter-gatherer society were those that had high
transmission rates; had big parasites; and those that are sexually transmitted; not
necessarily relied on vector
-movement to agriculture and the emergence of epidemic diseases
-emergence of cities and urban life new diseases related to crowding emerged and these
were known as crowding diseases e.g. measles and tuberculosis
-Plagues of Antiquity: diseases that occurred from 5000 BC-700 AD; characterised by
parasites with long lived transmission stages; had to be transmitted from person to person
to contact because population was scarce
Pharaohs Plague- happend in 1900 BC, thought to have appeared in the Nile Valley of
Egypt and thought to have occurred due to change in agriculture and irrigation; the water
would sit stagnant and would allow certain parasites to live there; still prevalent in society
but now known as snail fever/blood fluke disease/endemic hematuria/schistosmiasis; the
transmission stages of the parasite are microscope eggs which grow to become worms and
enter and clog blood vessels of humans; 1799-1801 Europeans invade Egypt; currently
causes 1 million deaths annually (pages 44-53)
Plague of Athens (pages 53-56) - rested heavily on planting vines and olive trees; took on
shipping and commercial transactions, 1200-750 BC two powerful city states Sparta and
Athens emerged; war dates to 431 BC and lasted about 27 years and the outcome of the war
is said to have been linked to the emergence of this plague; Spartan forces greater in
number on land then Athenian , but Athenians had greater forces on sea; its believed that
plague started in Ethiopia, moved to Egypt then moved into Athens through ships and
therefore Athenians defeated; really high death rates including Pericles who was a leader;
we dont know what caused it
The Roman Fever (pages 56-59) Roman empire established in 27 BC; relied a lot on
agriculture which lead to changes in environment which may have been behind the cause of
the Roman Fever and therefore malaria became prevalent; the cause behind the Roman
Fever is malaria which was thought to result from the bad air; epidemic occurred every 5-8
years; caused reduced life expectancy to about 20 years less
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