Archaeology, Heritage and Museums | Melandri Vlok
Tracing the ancient paths of malaria and yaws from Asia to the Pacific
Dr Melandri Vlok | University of Sydney
COVID-19 has abruptly reminded us that infectious disease pandemics are not a thing of the past, and our future with disease is uncertain. With anthropogenic climate change, pandemics are undoubtably going to become a frequent threat. Two diseases, malaria and yaws are re-emerging in Asia-Pacific, and evidence suggests climate change is a contributing factor. Malaria is caused by a parasite that spreads via mosquitos and has a high fatality of children under 5 years of age. Yaws is considered a neglected tropical disease. A cousin of syphilis, yaws spreads via skin-to-skin contact in children. Effective treatments are available for both diseases, but these diseases spread faster than the medicine can. To eliminate these diseases, we need to understand the social, biological, and environmental factors that allow them to spread so well.
Both diseases can be studied in human skeletons from archaeological sites, and to understand their evolution today we need to trace their roots in the prehistoric past. In this seminar, bioarchaeologist Dr. Melandri Vlok will explore her journey to answer the question: Can we turn to the deep past to help us understand our future with infectious diseases?
Date: Thursday, 5 May 2022
Time: 4-5pm (AEST, GMT +10)
Location: Online and on Zoom. Registration essential