Infectious Disease - Society and Culture

Society and Culture

A number of studies have reported associations between pathogen load in an area and human behavior. Higher pathogen load is associated with decreased size of ethnic and religious groups in an area. This may be due high pathogen load favoring avoidance other groups which may reduce pathogen transmission or a high pathogen load preventing the creation of large settlements and armies which enforce a common culture. Higher pathogen load is also associated with more restricted sexual behavior which may reduce pathogen transmission. It also associated with higher preferences for health and attractiveness in mates. Higher fertility rates and shorter or less parental care per child is another association which may be a compensation for the higher mortality rate. There is also an association with polygyny which may be due to higher pathogen load making selecting males with a high genetic resistance increasingly important. Higher pathogen load is also associated with more collectivism and less individualism which may limit contacts with outside groups and infections. There are alternative explanations for at least some of the associations although some of these explanations may in turn ultimately be due to pathogen load. Thus, polygny may also be due to a lower male:female ratio in these areas but this may ultimately be due to male infants having increased mortality from infectious diseases. Another example is that poor socioeconomic factors may ultimately in part be due to high pathogen load preventing economic development.

Read more about this topic:  Infectious Disease

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