By Paul Hackett
Read or Download A Very Remarkable Sickness: Epidemics in the Petit Nord, 1670-1846 PDF
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Extra info for A Very Remarkable Sickness: Epidemics in the Petit Nord, 1670-1846
There are several potential reasons for the decline in isolation that triggers this transition. • There may be greater numbers of people travelling between the pool and the outlying population, enhancing the opportunities for crowd diseases to survive a journey to the peripheral community. This is especially the case if there is a change in the nature of the movement to include greater numbers of children, who are much more likely to be susceptible to the crowd diseases. In the past, this has often occurred due to a shift from exploration to settlement phases of travel, particularly in those areas colonized from Europe.
Henry Hudson is credited with having led the first European expedition to this region, having explored both bodies of water in 1610 before a mutiny on June 22, 1611, in which the famed explorer and a small party were set adrift and left to die. 45 In theory, each ship that sailed to Hudson Bay was an epidemic threat to the Petit Nord. We have already seen, for instance, that the European ships were quite capable of introducing OldWorld disease elsewhere in the hemisphere. 46 Indeed, some of the exploring crews suffered illnesses at this time, so they might have inadvertently passed on an OldWorld disease to the Aboriginal people of Hudson Bay or James Bay.
Type III communities, or those with fewer than 10,000 people, will suffer periodic measles epidemics, but will miss some, since they may not have built up a sufficient supply of susceptibles to fuel an epidemic by the time the disease is reintroduced from an external source. In such cases the inter-epidemic gap may be significantly greater, with a corresponding rise in the average age of the victims. Nevertheless, even with the smallest of type III populations, it is unlikely that measles and the other crowd diseases would affect significant proportions of the adult population.