16 - Malaria (I): The Case of Italy
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Of all the diseases studied in this course, malaria has been responsible for the most human suffering. It has evolved alongside humans, and impacted human biology as well as civilization. In the former case, this impact is evident in genetic diseases like sickle-cell anemia which, while increasing vulnerability to a host of other illnesses, has the advantage of conferring substantial resistance to malaria. In social terms, malaria's debilitating sequelae have resulted in a reciprocal cycle of poverty and infection, low productivity and the desertion of profitable land weakening societies' ability to combat the disease and ultimately reinforcing a division between the global North (where malaria was eradicated following the Second World War) and the South, where the disease persists.
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