Disease Ecologies of the Middle East and North Africa

This study of disease ecologies of the Middle East and North Africa aims to demonstrate the interrelationships of environmental and etiologic factors in the diseases endemic to that region. In so doing, the essay surveys the area between Morocco in the west and the Iranian border in the east, including the Anatolian Peninsula in the north and the Arabian Peninsula to the south.

Conditions before the mid-twentieth century are generally emphasized in this study. The population data and some obviously changing current conditions are, however, pertinent to conditions in the late twentieth century. The State of Israel is not included in the discussion because of the general time frame and for other reasons. Israel does not fit into most generalizations about the region because of its diversified economy and the comprehensive health-care system created by preindependence settlers. The chapter also will not deal with the region's emerging pattern of the degenerative, metabolic, and genetic disease concerns of industrialized societies. Many of the data are derived from the accumulation of information assembled by the attempt of European nations to deal with epidemics and exotic diseases encountered during the nineteenth century in Africa and Asia. This material is sufficient to sketch a tentative disease profile, stressing infectious diseases. Moreover, twentieth-century investigations in nutrition have been used to supplement and qualify this information.

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