Infectious Diseases and Globalization in Chinese History

  The plague is abominable, and the death sickle interferes with the safety and development of mankind time and time again. But looking at human history, the plague is precisely the result of the progress of civilization. And the higher the degree of civilization, the faster the spread of the plague and the faster it will be updated. At the same time, the human response methods will be more advanced. In general, the plague has begun to decline in the human disease map. But in the struggle between the power and the devil, will the plague affect mankind from another level? Mood, and various psychological influences are gradually deepened with the help of civilization progress.
  Infectious diseases, by-products of human civilization
  may be in most people’s imagination, lack of medical primitive means of harm vulnerable to infectious diseases, typhoid fever or a flu going countless people’s lives. But not necessarily. The primitive society “does not communicate with each other”, the tribes lack exchanges, the population is sparse, and infectious diseases are not easy to spread. The main diseases of primitive people are trauma, oral diseases, bone and joint diseases, and dystocia.
  Of course, even so primitive people can’t live much longer. For example, the average life expectancy of Peking apes is 15 years old, and the Neolithic period has improved, but the average life expectancy is also very poor. There are six sites (Hua County, Jiangzhai, Dawenkou, Ximaihou, Songze, Weidun) human bone age statistics results are 10.8% for those under 14 years old, 18.7% for 15 to 23 years old, 31.3% for 24 to 35 years old, 32.5% for 36 to 55 years old, and over 56 years old. 6.6% (“Research on the Constitution of Ancient Residents in the Neolithic Age of China”). The nutritional level and living environment at that time determined the weakness of human physique, that is, the sparse population density maintained the last line of defense.
  With the advent of the civilized era, the population has gradually become dense, trade and wars have gradually increased, and infectious diseases have begun to have a broad stage. It can be said that without a civilized era, there will be no frequent and intensive occurrence of interpersonal infectious diseases.
  Infectious diseases also have their own development history (or continuation logic). First of all, the same disease has different forms at various historical stages. Bacteria, viruses, spirochetes, chlamydia, mycoplasma, protozoa and other pathogenic microorganisms are actually based on them. From the perspective of humans, their purpose is the same as that of human beings. They also evolve with the environment. Another trend? Is killing the host not the best option? Therefore, enhancing infectivity and reducing toxicity are the law of the development of many infectious diseases. The purpose is to multiply as much as possible and kill the host as little as possible. Therefore, some diseases are very violent when they first appear, but they will gradually decrease in intensity as they evolve, such as syphilis and AIDS, and the new type of coronavirus pneumonia that rages in the beginning of 2020, compared with the SARS in 2003 and the new type of coronavirus. Increased infectivity (to reproduce as much as possible), and a decrease in death rate (to stay in the mountains without fear of firewood), but the direction of the final development must be “too many people”.
  Secondly, every age has diseases of every age. The productivity, nutritional level, people’s physique, and climate of each era are different, and the development status of pathogens is different, so infectious diseases also have the characteristics of the times. Take my country as an example. In 1957, the top ten major diseases threatening Chinese people’s health were respiratory diseases, acute infectious diseases, tuberculosis, digestive diseases, heart diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, malignant tumors, neurological diseases, trauma and poisoning. , Other tuberculosis. By 2002, the top ten rankings of major diseases had changed significantly. Infectious diseases had been “lost”, while malignant tumors, cerebrovascular diseases and respiratory diseases, heart diseases, injuries and poisoning, digestive diseases, endocrine and nutritional metabolism diseases , Genitourinary diseases, neurological diseases, and perinatal diseases occupy the top ten (according to “China Health Yearbook (1984)” and “China Health Yearbook (2003)”). Improved nutritional conditions, modern medical technology and advances in the public health system have made infectious diseases take the second place. After humans have successively defeated smallpox, tuberculosis, plague, malaria, cholera and other diseases, cancer and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases have gradually emerged.
  The epidemic is about the change of dynasty
  As previously mentioned, the spread of plague is progress of human civilization, frequent exchanges of by-products, with the growing prosperity of the Silk Road, Han Dynasty since the entry of foreign diseases particularly striking. “The earliest devastating infectious diseases in China, such as the plague, smallpox, and true cholera, were all foreign.” (Fan Xingzhun, “History of Chinese Preventive Medicine Thought”)
  Almost every dynasty in ancient China had major epidemics, and many of them belonged to foreign diseases. The more foreign diseases, the more severe they became. For example, severe epidemics broke out in the late Eastern Han Dynasty during the Emperor Xian Dynasty. In this plague, even four of the Jian’an Seven Sons died (the Jian’an Seven Sons and Cao Cao father and son are regarded as representatives of the literary achievements of the Three Kingdoms period in the late Han Dynasty). At that time, Chang’an and Luoyang were covered with bones and people who died of illness were everywhere. Cao Zhi’s “Speaking of Epidemic Qi” records that “the epidemic of irritation, the pain of zombies in every family, and the cry of mourning in every room” What kind of disease is this disease is difficult to judge at present, but judging from its tragic degree and rapid spread, and the patient has subcutaneous nodules, it is most likely to be plague.
  A large-scale plague also broke out in the late Ming Dynasty, which was shown in the movie “The Great Tribulation”. This rat plague was concentrated in the Chongzhen period. Cao Shuji wrote in “The Plague: War and Peace?” China’s Environmental and Social Changes (1230-1960) pointed out that the plague has been very frequent since the 13th century in China, but it was extremely serious during the Chongzhen period, causing a large number of deaths and displacements. At the same time, Chongzhen was also facing the climate of the Little Ice Age. The drought and production reduction in China, peasant uprisings, and Manchu army invasions, these factors together created the dead end of the Ming Dynasty, and it is also a dead end that no one can solve.
  Another example is the smallpox in the Six Dynasties. Ge Hong’s “The Back of the Elbow” said: “It is still called the “capture sore” from the Jianwu in the Nanyang.” The war between the Xianbei people came from the Western Regions. Although the name Jianwu appeared many times in the history, there were three from the Eastern Han Dynasty to Ge Hong’s lifetime. It is difficult to identify which “Jianwu” was, but the “capture gains” clearly indicated the disease. Foreignness.
  In the Qing Dynasty, smallpox was still a very serious infectious disease, with frequent outbreaks and numerous deaths. The social panic is serious. One important reason why the emperors of the Qing Dynasty often met Mongolian princes at Chengde Mountain Resort was to take care of the mentality of Mongolian princes who were afraid to enter Beijing because of the fear of smallpox. The imperial family of the Qing Dynasty was always troubled by smallpox. If patients were found in the palace to go out to avoid acne, they would often be surprised at night. The most famous patients are about Shunzhi and Kangxi. Shunzhi died of this disease, and Kangxi’s emperor was also related to this. It was the missionary Tang Ruowang who suggested choosing Xuanye as the throne, because Xuanye had developed smallpox and had antibodies. In this way, smallpox unintentionally swayed the emperor of the Qing Dynasty.
  Speaking of this, we can still find a secret. The widely circulated portraits of Kangxi old people should be beautified. The important feature is that the unique “facial skin traces” of smallpox patients have been concealed. There are only very few portraits of Kangxi young people. It truly reflects the true face of Kangxi’s remaining life after the disaster.
  Take globalization “Clippers” came blight
  Ming and Qing Dynasties exotic diseases into the more frequently than the Han and Tang Dynasties, and one reason is the progress of civilization, exchanges are closely related. During the Han and Tang Dynasties, foreign exchanges mainly relied on the Northern Grassland Road and the Western Silk Road, and maritime traffic accounted for a very small share. The long Silk Road may have the meaning of automatic isolation. First of all, the road is difficult and dangerous, which limits the large-scale frequent exchanges between the East and the West. It is also difficult to walk and the journey is long. It exceeds the incubation period of general infectious diseases. The patients have been eliminated halfway. However, most of the Silk Road trade is a round-and-throw trade, which is characterized by phases and multiple directions. Therefore, some foreign diseases still slip through the net, such as the smallpox mentioned above.

  During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the main external transportation by sea allowed new diseases to invade in a faster and more efficient way. This is closely related to the “globalization” that began in the era of Western navigation. Sea-going ships are fast and spread widely, and they can spread across oceans. Moreover, the ships are easy to hide dirt and contain disease carriers, especially rodents, which spread viruses and bacteria to various ports in the world. At that time, there was no port quarantine system, so there was no resistance to the entry of new diseases, and the characteristic of seafarers was to look for flowers and willows every time they arrived at the port, which led to the rapid spread of venereal diseases and other human-to-human infectious diseases.
  Cholera and syphilis are the “new species” introduced during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and they are both the result of early “globalization”. There was the term “cholera” in ancient China. Zhang Zhongjing’s “Treatise on Febrile Diseases” stated that its symptoms were “vomiting and benefiting (dysentery)”, which may be acute gastroenteritis or other gastrointestinal diseases. The cholera referred to now is true cholera, which refers to an intestinal infection caused by Vibrio cholerae contaminated food and water. At that time, it had the characteristics of rapid onset, poor prognosis, and high mortality. This disease was only discovered in the 19th century. As for the first place, some people think it was Egypt and some people think it was India. It entered China along with maritime trade in the Qing Dynasty. Luo Ergang’s “Cholera Incoming into China” thought it was Jiaqing 20 In five years (1820), it was first seen on the southern coast and then gradually spread to the north. In the late Qing Dynasty, cholera was very frequent and killed many people, and people became disgusted when they heard of Huliela (the transliteration of Cholera in English for Cholera). At the same time, on a global scale, there were five peaks of cholera spread throughout the 19th century, spreading across all continents. William McNeill, “Plague and Man”: “One of the achievements of more advanced steamship and rail transportation is to accelerate the spread of cholera from all important world centers to the world.” China was forced to catch up. This “clipper” for the spread of the disease.
  Syphilis is also a disaster that the Clippers “downloaded” to us. This may be a disease originating in the Americas. Alfred Crosby argued in “The Columbus Exchange” that Western colonists brought flu, typhoid fever, and smallpox to the Indians, and smallpox and typhoid fever almost destroyed The Indian civilization has drastically reduced their population, clearing the way for the colonists. The Americas “repay” with syphilis, Chagas disease, and American larval disease. In particular, the spread of syphilis is simply the standard version of the “road map” for globalization.
  Why are there more and more “new diseases”?
  Although infectious diseases have developed with the development of civilization, the means to restrain them are still ahead of them. Of course, this is first attributed to the development of science and technology. At the same time, globalization also provides channels for restraining the plague. Academic ideas, technical means and medicines are enriched through exchanges.
  For example, malaria has ravaged China for at least two thousand years, and the special drug “Cinchona Shuang” entered China in the Qing Dynasty. Spanish colonists came into contact with Cinchona in the Americas in the early 17th century. According to the indigenous Indians, their ancestors discovered that pumas and jaguars suffering from “fever” (the Indian term for malaria) would look for quinine trees, bite the bark, rub the trunk, and the Indians found Kui. Ning tree bark is effective against malaria. This medicine was taken to Europe. Kangxi had suffered from malaria for a long time, and he was cured for a long time. In the end, two Catholic priests offered cinchona frost and healed. As a result, this miraculous drug became famous.
  One of the contributions of ancient Chinese medicine to the world is to provide a way to eliminate smallpox? Vaccination. The principle is to induce low-intensity smallpox by artificial means, which makes the patient produce antibodies. The Qing Dynasty “Golden Mirror Fu Ji Jie” of the acne department: “The method of hearing vaccination started in Taiping County, Ningguo Prefecture during the Longqing period of the Ming Dynasty… and spread the world.” But human pox There are too many uncontrollable factors in the law, and there are also cases of self-defeating, so it is not a safe immunization method.
  During the Kangxi period, Russia heard about this law in China and sent people to the Lifan Academy to study. Later spread from Russia to Turkey. The wife of the British Minister to Turkey, ML Montague, introduced this method to Britain. This indirectly inspired the British doctor Edward Jenner to invent cowpox (Jenner himself had a discussion about his previous experience in human pox: On The Origin of The Vaccine Innoculation). He found that dairy workers would not get smallpox because they Mild smallpox was often obtained from cows. There was no theory of immunity in Jenner’s era, but he was determined to experiment. In 1796, a human experiment was successful. A child was vaccinated with cowpox under artificial control, followed by fever and healed. However, the promotion of vaccinia was attributed to Napoleon. In April 1804, Napoleon issued a vaccination order to advise people to vaccinate. In the second year, soldiers were ordered to be vaccinated, with the exception of smallpox. This action effectively curbed the epidemic of smallpox in France. Imitate. This is the first mandatory immunization in the world. Since then, smallpox has been contained, and in 1980 the World Health Organization announced that smallpox was eliminated. This is a major contribution that ancient China made to the world after participating in “globalization”.
  ”Civilization” may objectively provide a way for the spread of infectious diseases, but civilization is strong due to communication, and a strong civilization and modern health system can in turn suppress the spread of infectious diseases. The pandemic of ten rooms and nine empty spaces in ancient China no longer exists. The Black Death that killed nearly half of the population in Europe is only in memory, and the infectious diseases that threaten human health have faded.
  Nowadays, the reason why people often ask “Why are there so many new diseases” is because people are accustomed to the inherent cognition of “disease is always the same.” In fact, we can see from the previous description that there will be new varieties of old diseases. The disease will be introduced from outside, and before molecular biology intervention medicine, people’s understanding of virus mutation is vague, and the virus itself is constantly mutating, and the cycle of mutation also changes. It is transmitted from animals to people to achieve interpersonal transmission. These phenomena are still vague knowledge for the general public, and with the advancement of inspection and screening methods, the knowledge of the source of the disease has divorced from the common sense of the general public, which has led to the “how many new diseases are now” Cognitive misunderstanding. The speed of the spread of modern information has caused the global infectious diseases to be displayed in front of you in various ways. Many of these diseases have not been seen or heard before, so it is easy to cause the illusion that there are too many new diseases.