> From: LANSMAN at VAXA.CIS.UWOSH.EDU> Subject: Re: Earth trying to Kill us?
> my mind. The strange thing to me is that the viruses (HIV-1, EBOLA) =
> seem=20> to be emerging from the same parts of Africa that are also suffering =
> =66rom> genocidal wars, mass starvation and more routine epidemics like chole=
> ra and> dysentery. I don't think it's any coincidence that these areas are a=
> mong=20> the most densely populated and have the highest population growth rat=
> es in> the world. We have clearly exceded the carrying capacity of the eart=
> h for=20> our species and some thing(s) will happen to reduce our population. =
You are confusing two things here, and you are getting some facts
WRONG...! One: yes, the virus outbreaks are associated with areas
that have had the odd genocidal conflict, BUT HIV and Ebola Zaire
popped out at times when there was NO large-scale conflict going on.
They emerged (presumably) because of increased population MOVEMENT,
NOT pressure; if you superimpose a map of the major truck routes of
Africa with one showing the highest incidences of HIV infection, you
will see an ASTOUNDING correlation. Because sex workers follow truck
drivers, as does roadside commerce. NOT because of population
Second, the areas you ar talking about (Zaire, Uganda, Central
African Republic, Sudan) do most definitely NOT have a particularly
high population density, although they do (generally) have a very high rate of
population increase. The only genocidal wars I can think of are the
Sudan civil war (which is pretty low-intensity, but has led to
starvation), and the Katangese secession in the '60's, apart from the
recent Rwandan horrors - and the viruses were well out by the time of
the Rwabdan episode.
SO: don't go ascribing anthropomorphic principles to the planet, or
invoking the Earth Mother to explain pestilences; we are a little too
sophisticated to need to resort to those sorts of tactics. Rather
blame collapsing infrastructures, lack of hygiene, movement of
human populations into hitherto unsettled areas, and increased human
mobility for the appearance of new human diseases.
| Ed Rybicki, PhD | ed at molbiol.uct.ac.za |
| Dept Microbiology | University of Cape Town |
| Private Bag, Rondebosch | 7700, South Africa |
| fax: x27-21-650 4023 | phone: x27-21-650-3265 |
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