The Arrow of Disease: Article Review

Date:  2021-03-06 13:13:24
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The Arrows of Disease Article authored by Jared Diamond explains how some diseases came to exist. Such conditions include smallpox, flu, malaria, plague, measles, tuberculosis, and cholera. These diseases have persisted over time and have evolved to become the most complex diseases affecting the human. According to the article, it is crystal clear that most human diseases originated from animals, for instance, as a result of human interaction with pets and livestock, some microbes were acquired.

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The article contains a sense of humor on the first page. In an event where a sick man was accompanied to a hospital by his wife, they met an inexperienced doctor who had no idea about the strange illness (Pneumonia). He tried to seek more information from the man by asking whether he had any sexual intercourse with an animal. The struggling man could not speak and before he responded, his wife struck him with a bottle on his head. If they had knowledge about the disease, it would not have resulted in a big issue. However, the man later admitted to having intercourse with sheep, something that may have indirectly contributed to the illness. There have been many cases of bestiality reported as people engage in sexual activities with different types of animals. It is a risky practice that may cause severe health consequences to the human population.

Also, the article explains the role of microbes in wars. In the past, diseases were considered to be a more superior weapon as compared to the armory. Infected persons were used to spreading germs to the enemies and infect them with diseases. Microbes have evolved various ways of spreading from one person to the other and from animals to humans. This is evident in pork that is poorly cooked; the warm responsible for trichinosis infects the human. People tend

to engage in unnecessary rivalry instead of coming together to find solutions to their common problems. Infections such as smallpox spread through body contact with the infected person. The U.S and Australian whites bent on whipping out belligerent; native people provided them with blankets that were previously used by smallpox patients. It was a mean act because they spread the infection on purpose instead of sensitizing other people to protect themselves from the infectious disease. It is inhumane to spread microbes to unsuspecting people as this may lead to fatal results such as multiple deaths.

Bugs modify the anatomy of their hosts to enable them to speed up their transmission. Some microbes are sensitive to heat and high temperatures than our bodies hence may not survive if we raise our temperatures. The other effective response is mobilizing our immune system. Our body cells including the white blood cells actively seek and destroy foreign microbes that invade our bodies to cause diseases. In the event of illness, our bodies tend to establish a more immune system against that particular microbe hence minimizing chances of contracting it again. We may also develop permanent resistance to some infections such as measles and smallpox after experiencing their infections. However, vaccination helps in protecting people from certain diseases that may result in permanent body damage. For instance, polio may cause drastic consequences to a person such as affected limbs. Doctors may not be able to reverse such results but can prevent them from taking place through the aid of vaccines. Although we develop stronger immunities to some diseases after ailment, some microbes have constant evolution to enable them to strike their victims again. Such include the flu which re-cycles with new strains and different antigens.

Among the most dangerous infections, the HIV is the most serious problem affecting the entire globe. It causes AIDS which evolves new antigens in the body leading to a massive destruction of the immune system. It makes the body vulnerable to diseases since the body is not able to prevent and fight foreign cells. The virus has become one of the greatest health challenges in the world with many mortality cases traced to it. Medical researchers have managed to curb its effects in the bodies through the introduction of anti-retroviral drugs which arrests the virus and blocks them from destroying the white blood cells. Despite all these efforts, there is no permanent cure for the infection hence it continues to spread.

The Influenza virus and cholera have also become a serious health threat. The epidemics spread at a high rate leading to multiple deaths before medical professions can curb it. For instance, in the case of cholera, it kills within short periods and also spreads quickly from an infected person to the people attending to them. If not properly handled and reported early, it may kill an entire population in the affected village. Influenza virus killed about twenty-one million people at the end of the First World War. Also, the bubonic plague killed a quarter of Europe's population in a span of six years between the year 1346 and 1352.

Therefore, it is important that we join our efforts together as one in the fight against diseases to protect ourselves from tragic occurrences. The latest threat that has recently been reported is the Zika Virus in the U.S and scientists have been acting tirelessly to find a solution to the new problem. The world has been warned of the new virus. Hence, people will observe vigilance and ensure that it does not spread further. In conclusion, this is a good progress in the fight and all states of the world should follow the example.


Diamond, J. (1992). The arrow of disease. Discover, 13(10), 64-73.

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