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1. How did domestication of animals contribute to increased disease rates in the new, omnivorous, horticulture-based societies that followed the disappearance of hunter gatherer culture?2. Why and

1.    How did domestication of animals contribute to increased disease rates in the new, omnivorous, horticulture-based societies that followed the disappearance of hunter gatherer culture?

2.  Why and how did the buildup of waste associated with early farming communities contribute to the spread of disease? Give an example of a disease transmitted by human or animal waste during this time.

3.Why were medieval towns and cities unhealthy places to live, with lower life expectancies than their country counterparts? What types of small animals that transmit disease are found living in close association with humans in both environments. Give an example of such a disease common during this period and brief description of its mode of transmission and mortality rate.

4.During the European population explosion of the 13th century travel for purposes of war and trade increased dramatically. How did this impact previously isolated cultures/societies? Would you characterize this as a positive or negative influence?

5.Describe the impact of syphilis, smallpox, and bubonic plague in early European history. Which strata of society were impacted most heavily, what impact did it have on the economy, and what measures were taken to control their transmission and spread?

6. Ireland in the mid-1800's was a tough place to make a living even before Phytophora infestans swept through the crops of "lumpers" and "apples" upon which the Irish were heavily dependent. Many cottiers flocked to urban centers looking for work to support their large families. Discuss how this exodus from the countryside created the perfect conditions for epidemic typhus; what is the causative bacterium and how is it transmitted? Why was it referred to as "jail fever", "camp fever", or "ship fever"?

7. The Irish really had a tough time in the 1800's! The few that could scrape together travel money to escape the potato famine, and didn't die during ocean travel, arrived in New York where they lived in squalor while earning pennies in unsafe working conditions. Mary Mallon was one of the fortunate few to land a job in the kitchens of wealthy New Yorkers. Describe her infamous contribution to the spread of Typhoid Fever and the role asymptomatic carriers play in the spread of disease.

8. Globally speaking three factors stand out as being major contributors to microbe-related deaths; poverty, travel, and antibiotic resistance. In your opinion which one deserves to be addressed first because it has the greatest potential to decrease mortality? What are the financial, logistical, and political obstacles one would face?   

9. The world's population has roughly doubled every 500 years since the beginning of the Christian Era. Obviously, humans are thriving despite the history of death and disease detailed in the book. With this long-term perspective in mind need we be concerned about microbial disease or is it just another example of Darwin's theory of natural selection at work? What aspect of human nature prevents us from allowing death to occur from natural causes and drives us to intervene? What are the eventual, global consequences of slowing down the human death rate when we do?

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