Re: diseases and immunity

Mary Beth Williams (
27 Jul 1996 00:14:39 GMT

In <4tbatd$> (Gerold Firl)
>In article <4t66i1$>, Beth Williams) writes:

>|> From Crosby, _Germs, Seeds and Animals_ (1994) pg. 74-75.

:::snipping quotes from Crosby (1994):::

>Here are some quotes from crosby, _ecological imperialism_, 1986:

:::snipping quotes from Crosby (1986):::

>This is a very different picture from the one you paint.

No, its obvious that in the eight years following _Ecological
Imperialism_, Crosby came up with additional information and reworked
his hypothesis, as the passages I presented from _Germs, Seeds and
Animals_ are direct quotes.

So, you support Crosby's earlier views, but not his more recent ones?

>Recall that I had cautioned you not to place too much emphasis on
>smallpox as the cause of amerindian mortality, since if smallpox
>gotten to the indians first, some other disease would have later.

Gerold, dozens of different *epidemic* diseases infected and devastated
the 100 million Native Americans in the Western Hemisphere, but your
continous claim that TB would have been the one to do it, for many
reasons, is inconsistent with the characteristics of the disease, as
well as the fact that it was endemic in the population for a least 500
years prior to European Contact.

>|> And you claim that this was all due to *epidemic TB*? Just want to
>|> that straight before I deep-six such a ridiculous argument.
>It would be better for you to quote me directly, rather than
>to paraphrase, unless you are able to understand what I'm saying.
>I had stated that TB can act as an epidemic disease among
>inexperienced populations, in contrast to the endemic status it had
>occupied among old world populations. It is not as swift and dramatic
>as smallpox, which is why smallpox, in free and open competition, will
>be the leading cause of epidemic mortality. However, in the absense of
>smallpox, other diseases will do the same damage, albeit at a more
>deliberate pace.

No, it will not do the *same damage* as the *slow, deliberate pace*
allows for care that massive epidemics, such as smallpox, do not... Not
everyone in a community gets TB at the same time, so there are people
to care for the sick, breastfed children of infected mothers, gather
vital food and fuel supplies. And you keep avoiding the devastating
rate of infection of TB among European and African populations, both in
the Old and New Worlds. Just do a little research on TB in mill
populations in the Northeast, or among soldiers in the Civil War.
You'll see mortality rates very comparable to those of the purported
*inexperienced* populations you cite.

>|> >|> In fact, there is no evidence to show that TB acted any
>|> in
>|> >|> Indian populations than it did in white populations, and until
>|> can
>|> >|> come up with such, you'll continue to look like a fool.
>|> >Among the maori, scrofula was the most common (or at least, the
>|> >visible) form of TB. The lymph nodes of the neck would swell and
>|> >supporate, which is different from the typical pattern of
>|> >infection in white populations, wouldn't you say?
>|> Scrofula is NOT unheard of in Europeans, Indians, Australian
>|> Aborigines, or other peoples from around the globe, and in fact, I
>|> found over two dozen cases of it in the Statistical Records of
>|> Connecticut, 1848-1860 (all white victims). If you'd check your
>|> medical dictionary, however, you'd see that it is no more deadly
>|> other forms of TB, and hence your claims of 75% mortality from
>|> epidemics of scrofula are completely unsupported.
>Sheesh. You are incorrigible. Like I said above, quote me directly, do
>not paraphrase, because you are either unable to comprehend what I'm
>saying, or else you are dishonest.

Gerold, noone is misquoting you, except, of course, you. You claimed
that 50-75% of the Maori populations died from TB. Crosby asserts that
TB was endemic in the Maori population in the 19th century, namely in
the form of scrofula. Then, in this last post, you start adding
*respiratory diseases* to your list of diseases contributing to this
high mortality, with the unwritten assumption that these *respiratory
diseases* are TB related. Sorry to inform you that the one of the top
3 causes of death among Third World populations is *respiratory
diseases*, namely pnuemonia and bronchitis, NOT TB. Many, many
epidemic diseases, including plague, cause respiratory infections in
their hosts, leading to death.

>I did not say that scrofula was unheard of. I said that TB "acted
>differently" in inexperienced populations. Not only do we have the
>estimates of 10-20% of maori populations showing symptoms of scrofula,
>but we also have the testimony regarding the wide array of tubercular
>infections simultaneously seen, infections of many different parts of
>the body. That kind of widespread, whole-body infection is an entirely
>different medical problem from the endemic TB of europe.

Gerold, I have told you time and time again that TB manifests itself in
any number of ways on the human body, through the pulmonary system, the
skeleton, the intestines, the lymphnodes, and even the skin. This is
true in ALL populations. So where do you come off claiming that this
is NOT seen is Europe, when there are cases and cases of such

:::deleting all the rest of the crap, as I don't have the energy to

MB Williams
Dept. of Anthro., UMass-Amherst