Despite a long tradition on the extent to which Romanisation has improved human health, some recent studies suggest that Romanisation in general, and Roman sanitation in particular, may not have made people any healthier, given that in Roman times gastrointestinal parasites were apparently widespread, whilst in the present day such parasites rarely cause diseases. Unfortunately, this novel claim neglects the empirical evidence that worldwide infections in over 1.5 billion people are caused by ubiquitous foodborne nematodes. Therefore, many may wonder if fossil remains of soil-transmitted helminths have been reported in ancient sanitation infrastructures. Beneficial access to improved sanitation should always be prioritized, hence how can historical sanitation efforts have ever been harmful? In this short article, a strong plea for caution is given, asking for an augmented nematological record and showing that there is not any evidence against Roman sanitation, neither in the past nor in the present.

Pathogenic helminths in the past: Much ado about nothing

Mulder, Christian
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
2017

Abstract

Despite a long tradition on the extent to which Romanisation has improved human health, some recent studies suggest that Romanisation in general, and Roman sanitation in particular, may not have made people any healthier, given that in Roman times gastrointestinal parasites were apparently widespread, whilst in the present day such parasites rarely cause diseases. Unfortunately, this novel claim neglects the empirical evidence that worldwide infections in over 1.5 billion people are caused by ubiquitous foodborne nematodes. Therefore, many may wonder if fossil remains of soil-transmitted helminths have been reported in ancient sanitation infrastructures. Beneficial access to improved sanitation should always be prioritized, hence how can historical sanitation efforts have ever been harmful? In this short article, a strong plea for caution is given, asking for an augmented nematological record and showing that there is not any evidence against Roman sanitation, neither in the past nor in the present.
Endoparasitic nematodes; Fossil eggs; Human diseases; Roman settlements; Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all); Immunology and Microbiology (all); Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (all)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/322758
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