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Disease and DiscriminationPoverty and Pestilence in Colonial Atlantic America$
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Dale L. Hutchinson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062693

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062693.001.0001

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Virginity and Virulence

Virginity and Virulence

(p.28) 3 Virginity and Virulence
Disease and Discrimination

Dale L. Hutchinson

University Press of Florida

Current research on virgin soil populations, novel diseases, host pathogen coevolution, and pathogen evolution is used to show that the effect of pathogens on populations is reliant on multiple processes, not simply pathogen strength (virulence). Syphilis and tuberculosis are used as examples. Virulence is the disease-producing ability, the relative tissue damage, produced by a pathogen. More virulent pathogens are those that cause more acute and serious disease. A classic interpretation of disease evolution goes like this: pathogens new to a population are highly contagious and virulent, but as they circulate among a population in successive generations, they evolve toward more benign (less virulent) forms.

Keywords:   Syphilis, Tuberculosis, Virulence, Pathogen, Evolution

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