The Impact of European Diseases in the New World Essay

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The Impact of European Diseases in the New World

If science has taught us anything, it is that one event invariably effects countless others. This is no more evident than when a species is introduced into a new environment. Once a foreign species finds itself in new surroundings, it can either die or adapt. Often, these introduced species take over the environment, irrevocably changing it to fit their needs. This usually leads to a serious deteriorating in the well being of species currently existing there. Such is the case as when the Europeans introduced themselves to the New World. The new arrivals not only brought themselves, their technologies, and ways of life, but, most disastrously, their diseases arrived as well.

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Killing its host is counter-productive for diseases-when the host dies, it dies. (Cowley, 54) Regardless of the infection's intentions however, host death can often be the result.

And death is something that ran rampant through the native population. The Indians were not able to combat these new afflictions because they were new to their systems. Small pox, whooping cough, chicken pox, scarlet fever, influenza and many more had long been around in Europe and the colonists had developed resistance to most of them. (Crosby, 198)

When a disease has existed in a community for years, the members of said community develop a natural, inherited defense after some generations. After initial entrance, the disease runs through the population and the more susceptible individuals acquire the disease and die from it. Those individuals "hardy" enough to survive then dominate the gene pool and the disease become less fatal to the remaining population. (Meltzer, 39)

Eventually, the diseases are always around in some variety, but there is a "low incidence of infection…with the only susceptible individuals" are those "entering by birth," which is way diseases like measles and chick pox effect mostly the young, "or from outside." These individuals show higher rates of infection and death than those already living there amongst the diseases do. (Linton, 131,141) This is precisely what occurred to the natives of the New
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