The Invisible Enemy Essay

Topics: Bacteria, Immune system, Infectious disease, Infection, Microbiology, Vaccination / Pages: 5 (1148 words) / Published: Dec 13th, 2015
“About 4 billion years ago, microbes appeared on earth and about 130 years ago the first microbe was discovered” (Crawford ix). Microorganisms are the simplest and smallest form of living things on earth and they are very powerful. Microbes can be used for ecological purposes, some are also pathogenic and others have helped in the medical field to create antibiotics. The author, Dorothy H. Crawford is Professor of Medical Microbiology and Assistant Principal for the Public Understanding of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. She is also the author of The Invisible Enemy: A Natural History of Viruses, and she was awarded an OBE in 2005 for services to medicine and higher education. Microbes existed on earth far before humans, and since …show more content…
Crawford examines that when the Europeans came to the New World many of their disease causing microbes killed populations of Native Americans. Their bodies were not used to many of the microorganisms introduced and they quickly died because the immune system of the Native Americans were not susceptible to the diseases caused by certain microbes, “The result was devastating 90 percent drop in the Native American population over the next 120 years” (Crawford 114). The death of many Natives due to disease helped the Europeans gain more power over the land and bring their customs, which has shaped the history of this country. If the Europeans would not have wiped out entire communities of Native Americans due to disease, then the U.S. would not be a western civilization country. Microorganisms played a big role in destroying the Natives, Crawford talks about the diseases spread to the New World as smallpox flue, measles, dysentery, whooping cough, and meningitis. She argues that due to the “wiping out of their population their customs, culture and language were lost forever” (Crawford 118). This can be supported by Columbus Conquest in America, many of the population of Native Americans died because of disease transferred from Europe through the Columbian Exchange. Microbes have not only shaped our history by causing disease, but it also has helped distinguish between social

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