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Chapter 3&4

Plague Readings Chapter 3&4

Health Studies
Course Code
Caroline Barakat

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Chapter 3: Six Plagues of Antiquity
In small groups (no exposure to infections and minimal survival and
transmission of parasites) epidemic diseases were virtually
Disease of antiquity, are parasites with long-lived transmission stages
involving person-to-person contact.
Hematuria is a disease that causes blood to appear in the urine.
Blood fluke was the causative agent of the pharaohs plague. Recall the
story of the snail infested water of Jericho.
Blood fluke disease caused snail fever. (Not a fatal disease). Also called
endemic hematuria.
Irrigations farming made conditions favorable for the transmission of
these parasites.
Blood fluke involves feces or urine, water, snails and a flatworm.
Theodor Bilharz a German physician discovered worms in the blood
vessels. He named the worms Distomum (two mouths) haematobium
(blood and to live in), and then changed to Schistosoma meaning split
and body, in 1858. It is also called Bilharzia.
There are three species of human infecting blood flukes. (Recall on pg.
48 mansoni and japonicum and haematobium)
On reaching fresh water, the discharged eggs release a swimming
larva, called the miracidium.
The miracidia encounter a suitable snail and penetrate the soft tissues,
migrate to the liver and change in form (sporocyst)
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It reproduces asexually for 6 to 7 weeks. During this time the snail
sheds thousands of fork tailed cercariae, which swim and penetrate the
human skin
And in 5 to 8 weeks they develop into adult worms.
The eggs move across the walls of the veins into the bladder or
intestines and become enclosed in a small tumor called granuloma.
Accumulation of two thirds of the egg do not make there way out of the
body and accumulate throughout the body and especially in the liver
and spleen.
Creation of the Aswan High Dam of Egypt increased the average
Originated in animals living in the rainforest.
Treatment of the disease that was truly effective and had low toxicity
was parziquantel.
Recall the plague of Athens p. 56 probably from Typhus.
Recall the history of Romans. In marshland of roman campaign near
Ostia the condition was so prevalent it was called roman fever and
then given the Italian name malaria.
During the plague the rise of Christianity greatly become apart of their
The Antonine plague was spread after the Roman legions were sent to
repel an invasion by the Parthian. Perhaps this was the first record of
the smallpox epidemic.
This plague could have also have came from the Huns who carried it
from Mongolia and then on to Rome.
Cyprian plague: either smallpox or measles. The mortality is higher
than the survivors. And lasted 16 years.
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