Re: diseases and immunity

Mary Beth Williams (
23 Jul 1996 22:47:06 GMT

In <4t3dj1$> (Gerold Firl)
>In article <4t0umg$>, Beth Williams) writes:
>|> In <4t0ncs$> (Gerold Firl)
>|> writes:
>|> >In article <4slbji$>,
>|> Beth Williams) writes:

>|> Yes, and Gerold we've gone over this time and time again... How
>|> either MacNeill or Dubos certain that the disease which was
>|> was in fact TB, _IF_ it had never manifested itself in this form
>|> before???? Were autopsies performed??? Samples sent to a
>|> to determine if this was in fact TB? You stated that this was
>|> nineteenth century...In Canada... Just HOW did they manage to get
>|> accurate information? And funny that we haven't seen such a
>|> manifestation at other times, in other purportedly *non-immune*
>|> populations.
>Your memory is selective, mb. This example was raised by joel
>gazis-sax, who claimed that it referred to a 20th century outbreak
>among a particular tribe, I think it was the sioux. I suggested that
>might have been thinking of the reference in macneill to "a canadian
>tribe" (no time frame given), and I stated that I had *assummed* it
>occured in the 19th century. Joel never replied, so maybe he was
>talking about a different episode altogether, but I've given you the
>facts I have, and discussed different interpretations of them. That's

It doesn't matter if Joel replied or not (and btw, he stated it was a
Midwestern group, which rules out the Lakota, and that it happened
_early_ in this century) as you took the citation and ran with it,
using it to support your entire hypothesis...You now claim that you
don't even know if it was a 19th century event! Did you even ever LOOK
UP the citation in MacNeill?????

>And as far as other "purportedly *non-immune*" populations, I did
>mention earlier the example of the maori cited by crosby. TB was the
>main epidemic killer among the maori, since the islands were
>effectively quarantined against smallpox. You have read crosby,

I've read Crosby, and know that you incorrectly use his information to
support your weak little hypotheses. If TB was an *epidemic* in New
Zealand than it was also in the US, particularly among the poor, as
mortality rates in both areas were similar.

>|> Trying to build your case here is running into a slew of hurdles,
>|> Gerold;
>|> 1.) Indian populations were, most likely, not *immunologically
>|> inexperienced* when it came to TB, as there is substantial evidence
>|> that TB existed in pre-Contact populations.
>If so, it was a different strain of TB, one which had settled down,
>long ago, into a pattern of endemic infection. Human and bacterial
>coevolution had produced a stable parasitic relationship.

Proof, Gerold... Where's your proof???? Physiologically, there is NO
difference in the manifestation of TB in pre-Columbian Indian
populations than in European populations of the same time period... So
where do you come up with such evidence? Out of a Cracker Jack box?

>|> 2.) Your use of ONE citations is problematic for any host of
>|> a. Its a citation (MacNeill) of a citation (Dubos), the latter you
>|> haven't even looked up to see from where (historical or physical)
>|> derives his *evidence*.
>True. I haven't looked it up. It does not appear at all anomolous to
>me, since this pattern is commonly seen all around the world, any time
>a new disease hits an inexperienced population.

Hello, Gerold...1) this was not an inexperienced population (which, of
course you refuse to believe even without looking at the slew of
evidence) and 2) its in really, really poor scholarship NOT to check
out your own citations... And could you please offer these *other*
citations from *around the world* (which I hope you've researched.)

>It does, however, appear anomolous to you, since you don't understand
>pathogen-host population dynamics. If you want to contribute in this
>area, you need to educate yourself further.

Gerold, get a don't even understand the pathogens (let alone
the hosts), so how could you come close to understanding their
associated *dynamics*...

>|> b. The purported claim of TB derives from a case in Canada in the
>|> century, long before appropriate methods to diagnose rare forms of
>|> were available.
>Again, I don't know if it was 19th century, or how the diagnosis of TB
>was made. If it matters to you, look it up. If it doesn't mater to
>you, then I guess you'll just keep on flailing.

Check again, Gerold... I'd say that its you who's going under for the
third time...

>|> c. If it was in fact intestinal TB, the disease was not a
>|> in Indian populations, but had been experienced by Europeans for
>|> centuries (although less likely to be seen in Indians, as it was
>|> contracted through ingestion.)
>Agian, you made up this intestinal hypothesis. Macneill specifically
>mentioned meningitis, and noted that other organs were also infected.

No, you said *organs* were effected... In pulmonary TB, the lung
*organs* are effected, and in intestinal TB, the stomache, liver,
intestines, spleen and other internal *organs* are effected. If your
talking meningitis, then the spine (not an organ) was infected, spinal
deterioration being the main characteristic of skeletal TB. Of course,
since you can't even give us details regarding the citation, then we
have no clue as to whether we're even talking TB or not.

>>Plus, there is no need to hypothesize about mutations, since bacteria
>often carry genetic information controlling the cell membrane proteins
>which determine what part of the hosts body they will adhere to on
>plasmids which are readily exchanged with other bacilli. A bacterial
>culture will maintain a large variety alternative plasmid alleles,
>which enables them to rapidly exploit changes in the host environment.

Cute little hypothesis, Gerold, but you've provided absolutely no data
to show that this in fact happened in historic Indian populations...
In fact, there is no evidence to show that TB acted any differently in
Indian populations than it did in white populations, and until you can
come up with such, you'll continue to look like a fool.

>|> >No. You claim that skeletal TB shows up in a very low percentage
>|> >cases: 3-5%. I am accepting your claim, in the absense of further
>|> data.
>|> >It does not, however change this discussion in a material way. I
>|> >stated that TB, which is usually a pulmonary infection in
>|> >populations, spread to other parts of the body in the case cited
>|> >macneill and dubos.
>|> Re-read your own posts, Gerold... You have TB as an epidemic in
>|> populations, something that you have been unable to prove
>|> archaeologically or historically (with the exception of a citation
>|> haven't fully investigated.)
>See crosby, _ecological imperialism_ for the new zealand example.

Once again, re-read Crosby, and moreover, we've been talking about
populations that have been isolated for millenia... Better re-read your
New Zealand history, Gerold, if you're claiming that the Maori were
genetic isolates.

>|> >|> European 5-year-olds and their Indian counterparts were equally
>|> >|> susceptible to smallpox, and their mortality rates the same.
>|> >How do you know this? What evidence exists to support this claim?
>|> Gerold, have you been asleep?.. Go back to DejaNews... I posted
>|> citations on this earlier in the thread.
>I find it hard to believe that accurate statistics exist to describe
>mortality rates among virgin-soil populations infected with smallpox.
>can imagine that pretty accurate numbers are availible to describe
>mortality rates among experienced populations, but those would be very
>low; in europe, africa, and asia, what percent of under-5 children
>of smallpox since such medical statistics were gathered?

Once again, Gerold, you've proven that you've slept through most of
this thread... Children under 5 have the highest mortality rate of all
cases of smallpox. One of the reasons that vaccination of children
under 7 became such a high priority. In fact, as discussed earlier, in
European North American prior to 1800, it was the primary cause of
death of children under the age of 5.

You're saying
>that in amerindian populations experiencing the first onslaught of
>smallpox, the same percentage died?

If you only look at those dying from the actual disease, yes, mortality
rates are the same (and we see this in populations where *immune*
Europeans or Indians were available to assist the sick.) As we
discussed before on a number of occasions (and you still seemed to have
missed), the diseases themselves were only part of the reason for high
mortality... The fact that everyone got the disease at the same time
contributed greatly to high mortality rates... People died from
dehydration as easily as from the disease.

>What would that percentage be? 5%? 10%? 50%? 90%?
>Notice that in the kiowa legend about the coming of smallpox, saynday
>states that smallpox kills men, women, and children alike; how much of
>a differential mortality rate are you claiming for children versus
Post adolescents and young children have the highest mortality
rates...We see this in white as well as Indian populations. You're
best off if you get small-pox, as well as any of the other *childhood*
diseases, e.g., measles, mumps, chickenpox, diptheria, whooping cough,
etc., in late childhood, early adolescence, which is why most children
who survive actually contracted them during this age frame.

>|> Uh, Gerold... Mohawks _are_ Iroquois (Haudenosaunee)...
>So are the huron, actually.

Uh, no... They're Iroquois speakers, but not Haudenosaunee.

>But I guess I misunderstood you. You were saying that since you are
>descended from algonquins, you would not try to cover-up iroquois
>cannibalism, since you're hereditary enemies, right?

(First off, I am Algonquin, not merely *descended* from Algonquins, as
you so casually put it, and secondly, you attempted to claim that
because you thought I was Haudenosaunee, that I would automatically
disassociate the Haudenosaunee with cannabalism...)

>Were algonquins also "purported" to be cannibals by european

Europeans, as an excuse to massacre Indians, often brought out the old
*cannibal* tirade, and used it against anyone who stood in there way...
I can see that things haven't changed much in 500 years.

MB Williams
Dept. of Anthro., UMass-Amherst