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Chapter 15 : Six Plagues of Africa

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Abstract:

Africa, with 12 million square miles, contains nearly one-fifth of the world’s land surface and is 3 times the size of the United States. The real Africa, what some historians have called “Black Africa,” stretches from about 15°N to the Limpopo River Valley in the south. Prior to the 19th century Black Africa had 80 million people. It was virtually unknown to the rest of the world, and for those who knew about it the knowledge was scant or ill informed. The reason for this was that there was little communication with the rest of the world except for brief incursions by the Phoenicians, the Romans on the Nile, and a few Arab caravans in search of slaves. Black Africa also appeared to lack the climatic attractions and plunder of the New World, and it was difficult to penetrate for several reasons. First, there were few deep bays or gulfs for the shelter of ships. Second, most of the rivers were not navigable because of sandbars at the mouth or rapids a short distance upstream. Third, beyond the shore lay miles of impassable mangrove swamps, and further inland was a tropical forest that obliterated the paths of traders, explorers, and natives. Fourth, for the Europeans the climate was oppressive, and there were savage animals, as well as hostile natives, and finally there were parasitic diseases.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Six Plagues of Africa, p 367-409. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch15
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Figures

Image of Figure 15.1
Figure 15.1

Lady Africa and her ladies.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Six Plagues of Africa, p 367-409. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch15
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Image of Figure 15.2
Figure 15.2

the causative agent of African sleeping sickness. Courtesy CDC Public Health Image Library #1182.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Six Plagues of Africa, p 367-409. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch15
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Image of Figure 15.3
Figure 15.3

Victims of African sleeping sickness. Courtesy Wellcome Library, London, CC-BY 4.0.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Six Plagues of Africa, p 367-409. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch15
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Image of Figure 15.4
Figure 15.4

Swelling of the lymph node in the neck known as Winterbottom’s sign. Courtesy Wallace Peters and Peter Janssen.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Six Plagues of Africa, p 367-409. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch15
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Image of Figure 15.5
Figure 15.5

Young girl leading a blind man suffering with river blindness. It is not uncommon in parts of Africa to see blind adults being led to the fields by children who have not yet lost their sight. Courtesy WHO.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Six Plagues of Africa, p 367-409. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch15
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Image of Figure 15.6
Figure 15.6

Microfilaria of . The microscopic worms are about 300 microns in length or ~20 times the diameter of a white blood cell. Courtesy CDC Public Health Image Library, #1147.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Six Plagues of Africa, p 367-409. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch15
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Image of Figure 15.7a
Figure 15.7a

Young boy with two nodules containing adults. Allen JE, Adjei O, Bain O, Hoerauf A, Hoffmann WH, et al. 2008. Of Mice, Cattle, and Humans: The Immunology and Treatment of River Blindness. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 2(4): e217; CC-BY 4.0.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Six Plagues of Africa, p 367-409. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch15
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Image of Figure 15.7b
Figure 15.7b

Three male and one adult female removed from nodule. Courtesy P. Soboslay.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Six Plagues of Africa, p 367-409. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch15
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Image of Figure 15.8
Figure 15.8

An adult woman blind from . Courtesy CBM.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Six Plagues of Africa, p 367-409. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch15
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Image of Figure 15.9a
Figure 15.9a

An adult Guinea worm being removed by rolling onto a matchstick. Courtesy CDC Public Health Image Library #1342, 1968.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Six Plagues of Africa, p 367-409. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch15
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Image of Figure 15.9b
Figure 15.9b

An adult female Guinea worm emerging from a painful and enlarged ulcer.Courtesy Biophoto Associates/Science Source.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Six Plagues of Africa, p 367-409. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch15
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Image of Figure 15.10
Figure 15.10

The nauplius larva of a cyclops copepod. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Six Plagues of Africa, p 367-409. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch15
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Image of Figure 15.11
Figure 15.11

This enlargement shows hookworms, attached to the intestinal mucosa. Barely visible larvae penetrate the skin (often through bare feet), are carried to the lungs, go through the respiratory tract to the mouth, are swallowed, and eventually reach the small intestine. This journey takes about a week. Courtesy of CDC, 1982.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Six Plagues of Africa, p 367-409. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch15
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Image of Figure 15.12a
Figure 15.12a

Color-enhanced Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM) of the Old World hookworm , an intestinal parasite. ©PhotoResearchers 2017, David Scharf.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Six Plagues of Africa, p 367-409. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch15
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Image of Figure 15.12b
Figure 15.12b

Scanning electron microscope view of the razor-sharp teeth of Credit: ©PhotoResearchers 2017, David Scharf.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Six Plagues of Africa, p 367-409. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch15
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