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Collateral damage

August 11, 2017

We humans are the secondary host for P. falciparum, the protozoan that causes the major form of malaria. Without us, it would disappear. That is how we clear areas of malaria: get rid of the disease in humans, and it is gone. And that is how we tend to view most disease vectors, as evolved to target us especially, or maybe a group of animals somewhat like us.

But many of the beasties that cause us infections in fact live primarily outside of us. They infect us only incidentally, even if, as with cholera, that causes vast human suffering. We’re just collateral damage.

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