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Lecture 2

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Health Studies
Caroline Barakat

Introduction  During hunter-gatherer society – predominant diseases were those with high transmission rates, macro parasitic diseases (did not require vectors for transmission), and sexually transmitted diseases  With move to agriculture - conditions favoured the emergence of epidemic diseases  Emergence of cities (technology) - urban life; Uruk in Mesopotamia (3500 BC) Plagues of Antiquity  Know existance from fossil records  5000 BC to 700 AD  Characterised by parasites with long lived transmission stages (e.g. eggs, larva, ...)  Person to person contact from population growth. The Pharaoh’s Plague  Evidence that it dates back to 1900 BC  Thought to first have appeared in the Nile Valley of Egypt (overflooding the nile which helped people cultivate food)  Emerge from Agriculture, the inundation of the Nile, eventually irrigation (seasonal) created favourable conditions that promoted the spread of the disease  Disease now known as snail fever or blood fluke disease / endemic hematuria / schistosomiasis: transmitted dermal from snails due to wet environment  European invasion of Egypt (1799 – 1801) resulted in the first European experience with the disease  Symptoms: swelling abdomin, children disease, regular bathing in contaminated water, using contaminated water in general The Plague of Athens  430 BC, epidemic started in Ethiopia, moved into Egypt, and was brought by ships to Athens (not a lot of crop area, but grew oil and wines rich, wealthy and built strong naval (boats)  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 one fourth of Athenians died including their leader ``Pericles``  Identity of this plague is unknown to this day The Roman Fever  Roman Empire was established 27 BC - series of colonies developed  Vast trade network emerged in empire along with diseases  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 along with development  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 first 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.  Had a big impact on collapse of roman empire along with the next plagues Justinian plague  First pandemic of the Bubonic plague  Arrived in 541 AD in Constantine the capital of the Roman Empire in the east  Raged Europe, North Africa and the Middle East until 757 AD  1 million people – died in a period of approximately 5 years  By 600 AD, mortality reached 100 M in western Europe  Red - Justinian pl
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