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Topics: Ergot, Ergotism, Fungus Pages: 2 (425 words) Published: October 11, 2014
Name: Donglian Yuan

After reading Parts I, III and IV of ‘Salem’s Secrets”, answer the following questions.

1. What hypothesis have the authors proposed?

1. They found out the culture and community of this village and they discovered that farmers utilize their swampy, sandy, marginalized land for rye production to share crops with families who escape from the India War to Salem Village. They think the problem is on the swampy and wet soil.

2. Young children and teenagers were deficient in essential nutrients and vitamins at this time. The illness might cause by poor diet.

2. What lines of evidence have the authors provided to support their hypothesis? (Try to name at least three)

1. Part III: Claviceps purpurea is the genus and species name of a toxic fungus that grows as a parasite on many grains, particularly rye. In rainy, wet weather, all plants become more vulnerable to fungi. Because rye also grows best in damp weather, it is particularly susceptible to fungal growth. When Claviceps spores germinate, they form distinct dark, hard structures called sclerotia. These sclerotia are commonly known as ergots, thus the term ergot poisoning, or ergotism.

2. Several factors play a role in the severity of ergot poisoning. Nutritional status, in particular vitamin A deficiency, is one such factor. Age and sex play a role as well, and ergotism preferentially seems to affect teenage females.

3. From the data interpretation, the symptoms that most witnesses suffered from were skin sensation (biting and pinching), convulsion and apparitions. The author found out that two forms of ergotism exist were convulsive and gangrenous.

3. Do you think poverty and socioeconomic factors influence the transmission of disease today? Can you think of an example?

Contaminated water:

Every year children and adults die of a lack of clean drinking water and poor sanitation. Many combinable diseases and many of the poverty related disease spread...
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