30

does having plagues of your own make you hardened against plagues from a different continent? I would answer looking at the fresh case of Covid19. No matter where the virus hit, the local variety of infections doesn't seem to affect how well or bad the population answers. I would expect the same to apply also in this case.


26

One word: syphilis. Of which the great virulence among Europeans for the first two or three centuries after it came from the Americas shows that it doesn't matter if they had contagious diseases in general, only that they didn't have that particular disease or that class of diseases.


13

Yes. Immune systems aren't the only thing that needs practice dealing with outbreaks. How good one countries zoonanautic outbreaks inoculated them for an introduced outbreak from another country will be a bit hit and miss. American Cow pox could protect against european smallpox, but maybe some other disease might not be protected. Who knows exactly how the ...


9

Yes and No... It is unlikely that the Natives would have a natural herd immunity when dealing with diseases that would have evolved in such isolation, but they would still fare much better. One of the biggest reasons that the Natives lost so many people to European plagues was culture. In Europe where plagues were common, they knew to isolate the sick, burn ...


8

I don't think it's because it's from different continents. A completely new plague would affect all in the same way unless there is a situation like cowpox and smallpox, where people who have had one cannot contract the other in a severe form. Measles and suchlike affect populations differently only because of built up resistance. Measles has been around ...


6

In humans, genetic resistance to disease does exist for specific diseases but not in general I have not seen any studies identifying human genes that make one more resistant to all disease in general. There are plenty of cases where a specific gene causes resistance or susceptibility to a specific disease. Lets assume that such genes appear due to a ...


5

Yes Yes, they would still be vulnerable. My doctor just admonished me to get this year's flu shot. I've never had one and I've never had the flu. He and I talked about the science literally because too many people think as you do. Immunity from one disease does not make you in any way immune to a disease your body hasn't encountered before. All it does is ...


5

Let's talk about how a plague can wipe out a civilization. Assume a generic disease hits a generic pre-industrial village. It's not even that bad of a disease; everyone will just be knocked out for a couple weeks. It can still kill everyone in the village. Why? Because everyone gets sick at the same time. In this situation, there's nobody who can help treat ...


4

Make China aware of you The Mesoamericans stand no chance of developing reliable seafaring technology within a century. Crossing an ocean as big as the Pacific is no easy task, and you cannot just learn that without some long-term economic motivator, something lacking in the West. But you can send a message. Manned expeditions will never make it, but if you ...


3

does having plagues of your own make you hardened against plagues from a different continent? Not all of them. Possibly some (don't count on it). That's a bit like asking whether having risked being maimed by lions offers any protection against being maimed by leopards or crocodiles. Obviously it does not. There is a very tiny possibility that the pathogen ...


2

It would be as virulent as it is today. By that I mean that the spread rate would be proportional to human population. The main issue would be spreading. We could assume that each household had a dog that could catch rabies. The problem is how to spread it. The dogs were expected to be aggressive and bite everyone. They were released from chain for the night ...


2

A rabid dog is something that a good wall can deal with. Or a well-thrown rock. Not to mention that the danger was obvious. Fleas were a lot harder to exterminate, even if you realized that they were the problem. (Note that exterminating rats is also somewhat harder AND leads to fleas leaping to humans as new habitat. People have learned that you deal ...


2

This would be almost impossible for a few reasons. But hey, impossible makes for an interesting story, so let's work through it with a few creative stretches here and there. The Chinese were interested in tribute. It's essentially a racket. You give us horses, gold, and other wealth, as well as whatever other curiosities you have laying around, and we don't ...


2

If you preserve the asymmetry of travel, with more people travling from Europe to the Americas than the other way, the problem persists. The incubation period for disesases is shorter than the time to cross the Atlantic. Healthy carriers are traveling from Europe to America. Europeans who contract illnesses in the Americas: Die in America, so do not spread ...


2

This is sort of like asking if a nation that had become resistant/immune to cholera would then be resistant/immune to small pox. There is a fairly low limit to the overall resistance an immune system can create, beyond which it develops countermeasures to specific maladies that it had encountered before. It doesn't matter how strong an immune system your ...


1

I'm posting this as an answer instead of a comment due to its length, but I want to emphasize the point @user3757614 made above: a major factor in the die-off of Native Americans exposed to European diseases wasn't the disease itself, but lack of care for the sick. There is evidence for this. A similar situation occurred in the late 19th century: isolated ...


1

To summarise the findings of all the answers, as I understand them: People of a local population may or may not be more resistant to a disease that's been with them for a number of centuries (the answers disagree). Any such endemic resistance would be in the form of genetic traits - like Sickle cell anemia in African people that happens to make them more ...


1

Were or weren't Native Americans killed in greater numbers to Old World diseases, measured as the mortality rate for specific diseases, then the people from the Old World with whom that disease originated? Mortality rate does not include those who were already immune and never contracted the disease during a specific outbreak. They were. By a lot. To the ...


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