27 October 2010

When Jiggers Swarm: A Sign of the Coming Anarchy?

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to a wide range of affliction, disease, and infestation, leading many to see the region as the epicenter for the coming anarchy. One of the most recent problems to rise to international attention is the deadly jigger infestation in Uganda.In the past two months alone, killer jiggers have killed 20 people in Uganda. Children are particularly susceptible to the blood-sucking sand fleas.
They often enter through the feet. Once inside a person's body, they suck the blood, grow and breed, multiplying by the hundreds. Affected body parts - buttocks, lips, even eyelids - rot away.

James Kakooza, Uganda's minister of state for primary health care, said jiggers can easily kill young children by sucking their blood and can cause early deaths in grown-ups who have other diseases. Most of those infected, especially the elderly, cannot walk or work.

"It is an epidemic which we are fighting against and I am sure over time we will eradicate the jiggers," Kakooza said.

The insects breed in dirty, dusty places. The medical name for the parasitic disease is tungiasis, which is caused by the female sand fly burrowing into the skin. It exists in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, besides sub-Saharan Africa. _TimesLive

Tropical Africa has always been a hotbed for disease and human suffering. Considering that humans evolved in that general region, it is understandable that the most effective parasites to afflict humans would have also evolved in larger numbers there.

The jigger infestation is just one of countless infectious and parasitic diseases which have left a lasting imprint upon the evolving human population of tropical Africa. The disease burden of the area is no doubt at least partially responsible for some of the distinctive characteristics of human populations in Africa -- for good and for ill. Consider the problem from an evolutionary perspective. What type of selective pressures would such diseases and infestations present to an evolving population?

Some infestations and infections occur mainly in areas of poor hygiene, but others can strike seemingly randomly, out of the blue.


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Blogger gtg723y said...

And DDT is still banned from use. When will people learn that the greenies are as evil as Stalin?

Wednesday, 27 October, 2010  
Blogger Loren said...

DDT was the most effective insecticide known before being banned, being rather nontoxic to humans in comparison to its use. Africa should tell the rest of the world to piss off and get it's stuff taken care of before it tries to deal with more expensive and toxic chemicals for pest control.

Wednesday, 27 October, 2010  
Blogger kurt9 said...

So that's where the expression "He got the jiggers" comes from. Anyways, I agree with you about DDT. I think the Africans need to tell the rest of the world to piss-off about DDT and GM crops. I think most of the push-back on both comes from the Europeans. However, there is considerable investment from China, India, and the the Middle-eastern petrodollars flowing into African agricultural industry, with most of the output going to these three areas. Unlike the Europeans, they do not have the hangups about GM crops but still observe the U.N. ban on the use of DDT, for now.

Thursday, 28 October, 2010  
Blogger 1.0 said...

I was under the impression that DDT was in use despite the ban in some regions. Simply because it's preferable to suffer the DDT side effects instead of dying of malaria.

Thursday, 28 October, 2010  
Blogger gtg723y said...

The "side effects "of DDT were mostly made up by the first pioneers of the green movement. The is no peer reviewed science to support the claims that DDT can be found up the food chain or effect the reproductive cycles of the animals up the food chain. Most of the claims mad by the woman that wrote the book defaming DDT are erroneous. Unfortunately however, once a panic is started...

Wednesday, 03 November, 2010  

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