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The Role of Epidemic Infectious Diseases in the Discovery of America

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As the world prepares to celebrate the quincentennial events surrounding the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492, a particular interest regarding the influence of epidemic infectious diseases on the history of the conquest of America has emerged. Contrary to popular belief it was not the European guns or fierce soldiers that conquered the native Americans, but instead it was the common childhood illnesses brought from the Old World by the European conquistadors. Diseases such as smallpox, measles, and typhus annihilated most of the American native populations. Devastating epidemics resulted throughout the New World. We will review the consequences of introducing new infectious agents into a nonimmune population, discuss the major pathogens that were imported from the Old World, and focus on how these diseases may have affected the aboriginal depopulation of the Americas.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1992-09-01

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  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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