For this assignment, I have chosen to focus on malaria because it is a disease that I am not very well oriented with. I viewed this as an opportunity to better inform myself on this disease and started out by writing down a shortlist of areas and topics that I would like to look further into. I would like to brief myself on the past, present, and possible future of malaria because I feel like it will provide me with a good base in going forward with my research. I would also like to examine how the disease is handled differently as an epidemic vs. an endemic, as this will further enrich my understanding of these types of scenarios. As a sociology student, I also have an interest in the sociological factors that attribute to the spread and prevention of the disease and wonder how other things such as the economy and climate change impact the spread of the disease.Sociological and Cultural Aspects of Spreading the Illnesses
Due to the way history was documented it is quite difficult to find an accurate timeline of the evolution of malaria that begins with its first appearance. But with some patience, and reviews of several peer-reviewed scholarly articles as well as non-academic sources I have been able to find something that paints a good picture of how long malaria has been around. Malaria has been around for so long some of its victims have included Neolithic dwellers, early Chinese and Greeks, princes and paupers.
Ancient writing and artifacts show evidence of malaria’s long reign. There are clay tablets that have cuneiform script from Mesopotamia speaking about deadly fevers which suggest malaria. Recently detected was malaria antigen in Egyptian remains dating from 3200 and 1304 BC. Malaria’s suspected spread into Rome in the first century AD was a turning point in European history. The disease more than likely traveled down the Nile to the Mediterranean from the African rain forest, then spread east to the Fertile Crescent, and north to Greece (Arrow, Panosian and Gelband 2004). Due to what little knowledge was known about diseases, I would say it is safe to assume that many passed off this disease as something else, such as witchcraft or other illnesses, during earlier days. There were myths about evil spirits being the cause of fevers and there were extreme efforts to remove these spirits. This resulted in many stigmas against those who became ill with malaria, among other diseases, until malaria was finally demystified (Neghina and Lacobiciu 2010).Sociological and Cultural Aspects of Spreading the Illnesses