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  • Print publication year: 1993
  • Online publication date: March 2008

I.4 - Disease, Human Migration, and History

from Part I - Medicine and Disease: An Overview
The people in Middle East were dependent on those in the surrounding countryside for food supplies; any depletion of those supplies, because of drought or other natural disaster, spelled catastrophe for the urban dwellers. In the late second century AD both Rome and China were probably overwhelmed by pestilence. It is easy, in light of the historical record, to believe that migration-caused health disasters are a thing of the past. There are, after all, few if any hermetically remote populations left on earth; and from Rome and China in the second century AD to the Pacific, Africa and the Caribbean in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as parts of South America in the twentieth century, virgin-soil conditions were the seedbeds of the great disease holocausts.
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