Diseases and Human Evolution

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UNM Press, 2007 - Medical - 484 pages
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Recent interest in new diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and Ebola, and the resurgence of older diseases like tuberculosis has fostered questions about the history of human infectious diseases. How did they evolve? Where did they originate? What natural factors have stalled the progression of diseases or made them possible? How does a microorganism become a pathogen? How have infectious diseases changed through time? What can we do to control their occurrence?

Ethne Barnes offers answers to these questions, using information from history and medicine as well as from anthropology. She focuses on changes in the patterns of human behavior through cultural evolution and how they have affected the development of human diseases.

Writing in a clear, lively style, Barnes offers general overviews of every variety of disease and their carriers, from insects and worms through rodent vectors to household pets and farm animals. She devotes whole chapters to major infectious diseases such as leprosy, syphilis, smallpox, and influenza. Other chapters concentrate on categories of diseases ("gut bugs," for example, including cholera, typhus, and salmonella). The final chapters cover diseases that have made headlines in recent years, among them mad cow disease, West Nile virus, and Lyme disease.

In the tradition of Berton Roueché, Hans Zinsser, and Sherwin Nuland, Ethne Barnes answers questions you never knew you had about the germs that have threatened us throughout human history.

  

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Contents

The War between Microbes and Men
9
Early Humans and Their Diseases
27
CHAPTER 4
45
The Schistosomes
99
CHAPTER 7
115
Domesticated Animals and Disease
137
CHAPTER 9
157
The Coming of Civilization
185
5
251
the Industrial Revolution
269
CHAPTER 17
279
CHAPTER 18
299
The Mystery Diseases
313
CHAPTER 20
337
CHAPTER 22
387
CHAPTER 23
413

CHAPTER 12
201
CHAPTER 13
221
Pestilence Plague and Rats
237
Works Cited
429
Index
469
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Ethne Barnes is research consultant in physical anthropology/paleopathology with the Corinth excavations of the American School of Classical Studies, Athens, Greece. She serves in the same capacity for the INAH La Playa burial excavations in Northwest Mexico.

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