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Who Gave Pinta to the Santa Maria?: Torrid Diseases in a Temperate World
The anecdote-packed history of how tropical diseases (malaria, syphilis, Ebola, and tapeworm, among others) have come to thrive in North America -- the true story behind such books as The Hot Zone and Deadly Feasts.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 1st 1997 by W. W. Norton & Company
(first published January 1st 1980)
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In this book Desowitz goes over the evidence for the origin and history of several diseases, including malaria, worm infestations, yellow fever, and syphylis, of which there are actually four different kinds. I didn't know anything about hookworm, and had never heard of John Rockefeller's campaign against hookworm in the southern United States. Rockefeffer's foundation also had a campaign against yellow fever, which apparently succeeded by inplementing simple mosquito control measures. But ...more
I started this book thinking that I would learn a little about tropical diseases. I did that and much more - I learnt about the migration of masses of humans and animals over millions of years, how the politics and fates of entire continents even now has been shaped by simple parasites - right from how yellow fever gained America the Louisiana purchase to how ring worm and malaria may have cost the south the war. There is much much more. This book reads great like a detective novel.
Not as entertainingly readable as the New Guinea Tapeworm book, but good enough. History of how the transmission and causative agents of some infections diseases were discovered. I was struck by how very recent (in terms of human history) these discoveries are. Source: library book sale.