Ancient Mystery of Malaria

1739 WordsJan 28, 20187 Pages
Ancient Mystery of Malaria Malaria is a disease that has wrought history since the dawn of time itself. It has conquered some of the mightiest warlords in history including Tutankhamen, Alexander the Great, Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan. The earliest records of malaria symptoms date back to 2700 BCE, first described in the Nei Ching, an ancient Chinese medical script. The Chinese described the prominent symptoms of malaria, discussing the connection between recurring fevers and enlarged spleens. In 1550 BCE the Ebers Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian medical script, mentioned patients suffering from fevers, shivering, vomiting, convulsions and also enlarged spleens. In 600 BCE records of malaria-like fevers rampant in Mesopotamia were found documented on cuneiform tablets. By 400 BCE the symptoms of malaria became widely recognizable in Ancient Greece, where malaria was held responsible for huge population declines in large cities and states. Hippocrates, traditionally regarded as the father of modern medicine, documented the main symptoms of malaria and made extensive notes in the literature of the time. He was also the first to recognise the relationship between occurrences of fevers and close proximity to stagnant waters. The Romans also discovered this connection between fevers and swampy marshes and notably pioneered the first preventative efforts against malaria by draining these swamps. Thus from the medieval Italian language the term ‘malaria’ was coined: mala aria –
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