image from Jeso Carneiro at Creative Commons
Pandemics have had a tremendous impact on human health and human history. For example, the Black Death, or the Black Plague, was a devastating pandemic that first hit Europe in the mid-14th Century and killed nearly 25 million people, around one-third of the population. After arriving from China on Italian merchant ships, the Black Death spread with amazing speed, often killing people in a matter of hours. The disease spread from rats to fleas and eventually to humans and caused a high fever, painful swelling of lymph glands (called buboes), and spots. The plague was not confined to Europe. Eruptions occurred throughout Asia and the Middle East as well. Numerous preexisting social conditions may have exacerbated the plague's devastation. The world had just entered the "Little Ice Age," and resulting famine had weakened immune systems severely.
This ScienceServ explores emerging infectious diseases and pandemics (such as Ebola and Zika viruses) as they relate to environmental health. We aim to provide an international space for health professionals, scientists, researchers, community groups, government agents, and the health-affected to connect, share, and discuss the interplay of major global concerns that affect infectious disease evolution (i.e. climate change, urbanization, mosquito control, access to clean water) and the impact on human health. We do this by distributing influential research articles and hosting partnership calls featuring new research and innovative efforts to address the environmental contributors and consequences of pandemics.
CHE does not take a stance on specific legislation nor sign petitions and the like. Rather, we investigate and discuss the scientific foundation for more health-protective policies in a civil tone. For posting guidelines and etiquette, please see our CHEtiquette.
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