This weekend, while we tried to nurse our girl back to health, I picked a book on human evolution. It's "The 10,000 Year Explosion", and it talks about the acceleration of genetic changes in our species in the past 40,000 years, but particularly in the past 10,000. This flies in the face of those who've claimed that evolution has stopped because we're no longer under the same eat-what-you-kill fight for survival.
In a chapter on the devastation that disease wrought in the New World upon arrival of the Europeans and their animals, I noticed a passage that says, "Syphilis and tungiasis (a flea that burrows into the skin) are the only human pathogens we are aware of that originated in the New World and have spread to the Old, although there may be others we haven't yet recognized – for example, some epidemiologists suspect that rheumatoid arthritis is caused by a cryptic New World pathogen."
P.S. Bless this city!