What Is The Oldest Disease Known To Man?

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Dipa Suresh Profile
Dipa Suresh answered
One of the oldest diseases known to man is the dreaded 'leprosy'.
This terribly disfiguring disease is caused by the bacteria 'microbacterium leprae, and was known to man and recognized by him as early as in the age of Early Civilization, in India, China and in Ancient Egypt.
Leprosy was rampant in thirteenth century Europe too, and even to this date, about 290,000 people are affected by the disease in various parts of the world.
Leprosy attacks the skin, the peripheral nerves and the eyes of the patient, and progresses gradually after a five year incubation period. Sometimes, symptoms may not manifest themselves for twenty years or more, but when they do, it progresses quite rapidly.
Leprosy is not in actuality a contagious disease, although in older times, people did believe that they would catch the bacteria if they handled the patient. This was the reason for the existence of 'leper colonies' where lepers would be banished for life.
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Anonymous
Anonymous commented
Actually, if you review history books and accounts made by medical historians, it seems that Malaria is the oldest disease known to man. Malaria has infected humans for over 50,000 years, and malarial protozoa may have been a human pathogen for the entire history of our species.
References to the unique periodic fevers of malaria are found throughout recorded history, beginning in 2700 BC in China.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
TB is also very old - they've proven its definitely at least 20 000 years old, and that humans were definitely contracting it in around 7000BC (through analysis of skeletons from a Neolithic settlement), but recently there has been some evidence that it could be much older, and the first forms of it may have developed around 3 million years ago.

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