Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Buggy Creepy Germs

People have a natural and very strong aversion to almost all creeping and crawling life forms, from mice and other small rodents to smaller organisms like insects. The idea of bugs on or near a person is sufficient to freak most people out. Naturally, this means there are plenty of totally gross, disturbing tales about insects on, near or even IN people. Add the fact that we call germs and sicknesses by the name of 'bugs' (the flu bug) in our common, everyday language and it becomes a near paradox, this connection-aversion with people and bugs.

Perhaps it is because WE KNOW that sometimes smaller organisms can invade our larger bodies (resulting in great or fatal damage) that we fear bugs so much in general. Almost everyone is perfectly aware that organisms invisible to the naked eye have wiped out entire populations before during the course of history. Smallpox (has killed millions upon millions of people), The Spanish Flu (killed up to 100 million in a space of around two years, 1918 and 1919), The Black Death (1340-1771, killed an estimated 75 million), Malaria (still kills about 2 million each year) and AIDS (has killed an estimated 25 million since we learned what this disease was around 1981) have all been sicknesses that decimated astounding numbers of people and also spread uncontrollably across the landscape.

Most of us know that at least one of the terrible diseases named above is carried by one of the most common insects in the world - the mosquito. These insects - mosquitoes - have been the cause of and are still often the cause of transmission of the germs that cause Malaria. Actually, the disease is carried and transmitted through a particular type of mosquito, the female Anopheles mosquito - but to the naked eye, how is one to identify the Malaria carrying female Anopheles mosquito in order to protect oneself, anyway?

From all this, it is quite apparent that the human body can be considered quite fragile when pitted against an insect large enough to see but which carries a smaller 'bug' that can infect and cause death.

No wonder folklore, mythology and even modern urban legends are filled with creepy bug stories... Bugs are almost universally feared. Bugs are also universally more powerful than the human body, under the right circumstances.

Next post: An Urban Legend about BUGS!

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