The Columbian exchange was the widespread transfer of various products such as animals, plants, and culture between the Americas and Europe. Though most likely unintentional, the byproduct that had the largest impact from this exchange between the old and new world was communicable diseases. Europeans and other immigrants brought a host of diseases with them to America, which killed as much as ninety percent of the native population. Epidemics ravaged both native and nonnative populations of the new world destroying civilizations. The source of these epidemics were due to low resistance, poor sanitation, and inadequate medical knowledge- “more die of the practitioner than of the natural course of the disease (Duffy).
” These diseases of the new world posed a serious threat to the lives of the early settlers, with ineffective treatments mortality was high especially for infants and children. Most patients seeking help turned to local healers using herbal remedies, while others turned to barber-surgeons, minsters, or midwives. There was little regulation or control over medical care and there was no distinction between physician and surgeons. When an emergency occurred whoever was capable of administering medical care was expected to handle all aspects of a situation. Relatively few doctors in this period had any type of medical training; only one of Boston’s ten doctors had a degree. With that prescription drugs were prescribed in excessively large and unmeasured quantities.
The most common cures for patients was bloodletting sometimes combined with purgatives such as vomiting. Bloodletting was a method of withdrawing blood from patients in hope to cure or prevent illnesses. Though due to lack of knowledge this method normally kille. .using symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and vomiting. Difficult to recognize at first malaria continues to cause yellowing of the skin, seizures, and even death; these symptoms normally begin after ten to fifteen days after being contracted.
Malaria was brought over to early America through slavery and killed millions of people between the seventeenth and twentieth century. Throughout the growth and expansion of America there was been several disease outbreaks both endemic and epidemic such as small pox, measles, yellow fever, and malaria. Starting with the Colombian exchange and slavery these diseases were brought to the new world and spread like wildfires that devastated populations both native and nonnative. Most commonly known for the death toll on the native Americans these diseases were so costly due to low resistance, poor sanitation, and inadequate treatments.