# 絲綢之路上的傳染病

For thousand thousands of years, what’s called the Silk Road was a group of lands land and sea trade routes that connected the Far East with South Asia, Africa, the Middle East , and southern Europe. Of course, when humans travel , they carry their pathogens with them. So scientists and historians have wondered if the Silk Road was a transmission route , not just for goods, but for infectious disease.

Now we have the first hard evidence of ancient Silk Road travelers spreading their infections. The find comes from a 2000-year-old 2,000-year-old latrine , that had first been excavated in 1992. The report is in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

So the site is a relate relay station on the Silk Road in northwest China. It’s just to the eastern end of the Tarim Basin, which is a large and varied arid area . It’s just to the east of the Taklamakan desert, and not far from the Gobi Desert. So this is a dry part of China.

Piers Mitchell, a paleopathologist , at the University of Cambridge, and one of the study’s authors, along with a his student Ivy Yeh and colleagues in China.

In the latrine, archaeologists found used hygiene sticks rap wrapped with clothescloth. These were used for what you think they were used for.

This escalation excavation was great . because the clothes were cloth was still preserved in and the fezzes which feces was still adherent to the clothes cloth on some of the sticks. So the archaeologists tagged archaeologist kept these sticks in the museum. And so my Ph. D. student, Ivy Yeh, who is the who’s first author of on the paper. , she went out to China took some scrapings from the fezzes feces adherent to the clothes cloth. So we were then able to analyze that down the microscope when she brought it back to Cambridge.

Where they found legs eggs from parasites - including one from a liver fluke.

And that’s the exciting one because that’s only found in East eastern and southern China and in Korea. , where they have marched the marshy areas that would have the right snails and the right fish.

The fluke needs snails and fish for its lifecycle. , but there were no such snails or fish in this dry region of China. So the unlucky travelers traveler who harbored the parasite had to have transported the disease to that spot.

Well , firstly it tells us that people were doing a very long journey, journeys along the long Silk Road . and you might think that’s obvious. But no one really knew how long people were traveling. Some people may have been trading, don’t need to go only going short distances selling their goods on to the next person. And so the goods might have gone all over the way on along the Silk Road, but people might not. But we know that some people were doing huge distances.

Secondly , it shows that you know this was, would be a viable route for the spread of those other infectious diseases like Bubonic plague , and leprosy , and anthrax . that people had previously been suggested might have been spread between East Asia and Europe along the Silk Road. Because bone modern genetic analyses have just shown similarities between the strains of one end and the other.

Mitchell says there is there’s much more work to be done to better understand the spread of diseases around the world. Perhaps from analyzing skeletons - or various other kinds of remains - to be found along the Silk Road.

• Words worth to be remembered:
• latrine: n. a public toilet in a military area
• relay: n. 接力赛；替班；中继设备；转播，传送 v. 传达；转播，传送；（使）接替
• arid: adj. 干旱的，干燥的；贫瘠的，不毛的；枯燥无味的
• archaeologist: n. 考古学家
• excavation: n. 挖掘，发掘；挖，开凿
• Taklamakan desert: 塔克拉玛干沙漠
• feces: n. 排泄物，渣滓
• Gobi Desert: 戈壁沙漠（蒙古和中国西北部）
• marshy: adj. 多沼地的，湿地的，沼地的
• Bubonic plague: n. [医]黑死病,淋巴腺鼠疫
• leprosy: n. 麻疯病,腐败
• athrax: n. 炭疽热

## 譯文

Mitchell 表示，还有很多工作需要做，这样将有助于更好的理解全世界的疾病传播情况。或许是通过分析遗迹残骸骨架——或者其它种类的残留物——未来在丝绸之路上所发现的那些东西，就可以了解了。

##### Chaochen Wang 王　超辰
###### Assistant Professor

All models are wrong, but some are useful.