The Infectious Diseases of Migrant Populations

Syrian and Irawi immigrants getting off a boat from Turkey on the Greek island of Lesbos

The year 2015 will be remembered for the sudden increase of asylum seekers and refugees into Europe and this looks set to continue. Many academic studies attempted to estimate the risk of infectious disease thanks to this increased migration, but these fail to take into account the reasons for this migration. Most are assumed to have the same disease, which is not likely and so Professor Christian Wejse of the Department of Infectious Diseases, Aarhus University set out to find out the prevalence of different diseases among different migrant populations. Generally, refugees have high risk of contracting tuberculosis, hepatitis B and HIV, with cutaneous diphtheria, relapsing fever and shigella appearing to a lesser extent. Hepatitis C and malaria was considered low risk among migrant populations. So, what explains the patterns we see here. Poor living conditions during migrations featured as the primary culprit, which was tracked along migration routes. Despite high transmission of disease by the migrant population, the risk to the population of the host country was significantly low. This research demonstrates that there is a need for the creation of a standard for health reception and a reporting of asylum seekers and refugees.

Professor Christian Wejse discussed the results of his research at the Society for the study of Human Biology (SSHB) Conference in early December of 2016, at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Aarhus, Denmark.



The Siberian and the Laika Hunting Dog


Recently, I came across this early photograph of unknown origin. Confusion abounds online as to the origin and story behind it. After some time spent researching I ended up uncovering a dark past of Tsarist Russia. Siberia remained untouched by the outside world for many centuries, but that changed when the Ivan IV Vasilyevich (1530 – 1584) initiated a colonisation of Siberia beginning in July of 1580. This had disasterous concequences for the indigenous people who did not take to kindly to this subjugation. From 1706 to 1741, a series of Itelmen rebellions were brutally crushed, while the Koryak Rebellions of 1745 – 1756 marked a truly dark and bloody time in Siberian history. By about 1882, 12 indigenous groups were exterminated by the Russian Cossacks.

Yermak’s Conquest of Siberia (1895) – Vasiliy Surikov

In the midst of all this chaos, groups of ethnographers were making there way into these territories to record and document the way of life and the diverse languages of Siberia. We have four very important people to thank for this. Waldemar (Vladimir) I. Jochelson (1855-1937) and Waldemar (Vladimir) G. Bogoras (1865-1936) published many articles on the way of life of the Siberian peoples, as part of the famous Jesup Expedition . Waldemar Jochelson and his wife Dina Brodskaya, lived among the Koryak, Yukaghir, and Sakha (Yakut) peoples for nearly two years. Dina’s primary task was to prepare medical records and photograph life in Siberian, while she could do little to address the outbreak of measles. The Koryak people had abandoned their camp along the river Gizhiga to retreat up into the mountains with the reindeer. They suffered a 25% death rate thanks to the measles outbreak. Waldemar Bogaras and his wife Sofia lived with the Chukchee people who by 1900 had suffered a 30% drop in population thanks to the measles outbreak.

River Gizhiga

And this brings me to the second consequence of warfare between the Russian Co
ssacks and the indigenous Siberian people – epidemic outbreak. The Siberian population was decimated by measles and smallpox outbreaks over the three hundred years of warfare. It was Waldemar who documented the languages and folklore of the Chukchee.

It is likely that Dina Brodskaya took the photograph of the Yukaghir adult and the Laika hunting dog in the autumn of 1900. I cannot imagine the frustration of the team in carrying the heavy photographic equipment across the inhospitable siberian wilderness.

Major groups of eastern Siberia

Tinder: Judging The People By Their Tinder Photos

This is so sad. Tinder is a very bad way to find a potential partner. There are much better online platforms, to search for that special someone. Tinder defines you by your looks alone. Obese individuals may resort to uploading pictures of themselves when they were thinner, probably because of a lack of self-esteem in their present image or because they feel they live in a culture where obesity is shunned.


In the female disguised video, those males were focused on looks and not personality. This may suggest they were not interested in a long term relationship. They were very prejudicial though, not looking beyond the obesity. The opposite can be inferred from the results of the male disguised video, with very polite females and advancements in potential relationships. So, in these videos we are forgetting what participates are looking for. If you are looking for a long term relationship, I’d argue you are more willing to see passed looks alone. Evolutionarily, women are usually the cautious group, while males tend to jump at the chance. This, however varies from animal group to animal group. And not all males are shallow.


A general assumption among some is an obese person is lazy and cannot think healthy. This may not necessarily be the case. Metabolism needs to be factored in here, so the above will remain an assumption until we see the demographic of slow metabolic individuals in a population.


Now, these videos are not scientifically rigorous enough. Were there other participates in the study? If so, why were they not included in the video. If no, this, in no way represents the results you would achieve if you were to include the rest of the 299,999,992 United States Citizens. Even then, such an experiment would be shot down in a peer-reviewed process, because how men and women behave in Hollywood, may differ from those of New York. So, scientifically it is unscientific. It is merely anecdotal.

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