Lecture 2 In-class Notes

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31 Oct 2010
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Introduction
-During hunter-gatherer society - predominant diseases were those with high transmission rates,
macro parasitic diseases (didnt require vectors for transmission), and STDs
-With move to agriculture - conditions favoured the emergence of epidemic diseases
-Emergence of cities - urban life; Uruk in Mesopotamia (3500 BC)
Plagues of Antiquity
-5000BC to 700 AD
-Characterized by parasites with long lived transmission stages (e.g. eggs, larva,...)
-Person to person contact
The Pharaoh’s Plague
-Evidence that it dates back to 1900 BC
-Thought to first have appeared in the Nile Valley of Egypt
-Agriculture, the inundation of the Nile, eventually irrigation created favourable conditions that
promoted the spread of the disease
-Disease now known as snail fever or blood fluke disease/endemic hematuria/schistosomiasis
-European invasion of Egypt (1799-1801) resulted in the first European experience with the
disease
The Plague of Athens
-430 BC, epidemic started in Ethiopia, moved into Egypt, and was brought by ship to Athens
-The plague was blamed for the defeat of the Athens by the Spartans in a war that started in 431
BC and lasted 27 years
-Almost 1/4 of Athenians died including their leader “Percicles”
-Identity of this plague is unknown to this day
The Roman Fever
-Roman empire was established 27 BC - series of colonies
-Vast trade network emerged
-Malaria became prevalent
-Thought to result from the ‘bad air due to vapors released from marshes in the summer
-Epidemics occurred every 5 to 8 years
-In some areas, life expectancy was reduced to 20 years (compared to 40-50 years)
The Antonine plague
- AD 166 - brought to the Roman Empire by Roman troops from Mesopotamia
-Made its way to Europe
-Symptoms: high fever, inflammation of the mouth and throat, thirst, diarrhea, postules that
appeared after 9 days
-Identity of the plague not known - likely to be the 1st record of smallpox
The Cyprian Plague
-250 AD - believed to have originated in Ethiopia, moved to Egypt, and made its way to the
Roman colonies of North Africa
Lecture 2 - Plagues of Antiquity & Bubonic plague
1
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Document Summary

During hunter-gatherer society - predominant diseases were those with high transmission rates, macro parasitic diseases (didnt require vectors for transmission), and stds. With move to agriculture - conditions favoured the emergence of epidemic diseases. Emergence of cities - urban life; uruk in mesopotamia (3500 bc) Characterized by parasites with long lived transmission stages (e. g. eggs, larva,) Evidence that it dates back to 1900 bc. Thought to rst have appeared in the nile valley of egypt. Agriculture, the inundation of the nile, eventually irrigation created favourable conditions that promoted the spread of the disease. Disease now known as snail fever or blood uke disease/endemic hematuria/schistosomiasis. European invasion of egypt (1799-1801) resulted in the rst european experience with the disease. 430 bc, epidemic started in ethiopia, moved into egypt, and was brought by ship to athens. The plague was blamed for the defeat of the athens by the spartans in a war that started in 431.

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