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Desease and Migration - Book Report/Review Example

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Name: Professor: Course: Date: Disease and Migration Introduction This paper is aimed at discussing the role that diseases played in migration. The discussion will be based on three authors: namely William McNeill, Sheldon Watts and Mary Dobson. There is a case in history that has been analyzed in great detail by Hernan Cortes…
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Desease and Migration
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Download file to see previous pages Eyewitnesses who brought him report after report had accounts that were disturbing. Mainly, they reported that the city was filled with heads and corpses of people who had been pillaged by a greater power than they had envisaged. They further reported that they had heard of a plague in Jerusalem but it was not as great as that witnessed in that city. Therefore, the odors that emanated from thence were so bad that one was offended a long distance away. When Christopher Columbus went to America with the Spaniards, the population was placed somewhere at 50 million people but afterwards it was reported to being less than 3 million people. This means that the plague that was gotten from Mexico City by those in battle had made it to areas where there was no infection reported. Historians like Davis Brion termed this occurrence as the greatest genocide in human history. This case study shows that the greatest carnage, at least by Brion, did not occur due to the barbarism of Europeans fighting for the scramble of America but by the presence of microorganisms. Discussion According to the present studies on all microorganisms including bacteria, viruses and fungi, they are not meant to be destructive to humans. In fact, they compete much in the same concepts that were advanced by Charles Darwin. This means that rather than destroy the hosts that they live in, they would rather reproduce and multiply in the host without bringing harm to the said host. However, when people move from place to place, they tend to meet others who have not been previously exposed to the same strains of these organisms. This means that the hosts usually take a lot of time before they get used to the presence of these organisms in their bodies. In the process, the hosts that are weaker than others tend to die off. In this instance, the population is greatly reduced since the actions of nature are evidentially in play. A sort of mutual tolerance arises for the parasite causing the plague in the stronger hosts. The result of such a process is that those who are tolerant become immune to the disease. Ultimately, the children that they give rise to become stronger and the illness is a common one to them without any devastating effects. William McNeill observes that the more diseased a population is, the less the epidemic to them. The university of Chicago historian, William McNeill, is credited as the first major contributor to the history of diseases even though he was not in the medical profession and did not therefore place it in a medical context. The context of his assumption was mainly in Europe although back hen every publication was either in Europe or in America. Before the publication of plagues and Peoples in 1976, most of the previous works had been by antiquarian medical practitioners who were mostly retired. However, the format of their publications tended to be more of a self-congratulatory nature although the intentions were good. However, the point of departure of these earlier works from those of William McNeill was the fact that they tended to be more on the presently occurring events and analyses rather than those of history. Additionally, all these works tended to be more focused on the sub discipline of history commonly referred to as history of medicine. The latter publications aside form the plagues and peoples tended to be more recognizable as addressing more on the historical perspectives and hence ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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