Smash The Toilet!

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Jack Campin
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Smash The Toilet!

Postby Jack Campin » Fri Jan 08, 2016 6:53 pm

They spread whipworms all across Europe...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 083458.htm



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Alan E
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Re: Smash The Toilet!

Postby Alan E » Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:57 pm

From the linked article
Piers Mitchell said: "Modern research has shown that toilets, clean drinking water and removing faeces from the streets all decrease risk of infectious disease and parasites. So we might expect the prevalence of faecal oral parasites such as whipworm and roundworm to drop in Roman times -- yet we find a gradual increase. The question is why?"

It covers several of the reasons why but surprisingly (to me) misses two:
> The 'sponge on a stick', when used must have been an excellent way of spreading intestinal parasites.
> Increased safety in travel, due to a centralised state may have increased the actual amount of travel, giving parasites fresh opportunity to infect new populations.

So it wasn't the toilets that spread disease, they just failed to limit the spread, due to the ways they were used. Ectoparasites of course have no particular preference for a greasy, dirty body - in fact lice and fleas find it easier to move through clean hair!


'till whispers fill the tower of memory...
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Brother Ranulf
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Re: Smash The Toilet!

Postby Brother Ranulf » Fri Jan 29, 2016 10:29 pm

I have recently been investigating low-status diet in 12th century England, which led me into the world of environmental archaeology. The high presence of intestinal parasite eggs in preserved cesspits of that period are widely associated with eating smoked or pickled fish (mainly herring, but also eels and some cod) - this kind of processing does not kill the parasites. I understand that the Romans also ate both smoked and pickled fish (and what exactly was garum made from?), so it seems possible that diet might have been a contributory factor . . .


Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138


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