Sometimes, history and archeology show us the evolution and advance of diseases that, although many of them have been eradicated, there are others that exist such as tuberculosis. In this case, several mummies containing up to 12 completely different strains of tuberculosis have been detected in the crypt of a Hungarian monastery.
As featured in the magazine Nature Communications, mummies date back to the 18th century, a moment in the history of Europe where tuberculosis was one of the diseases with the highest mortality rate at that time.
This was revealed by a team of scientists who took tissue samples from the 26 interred corpses at the Dominican monastery in the Hungarian city of Barr. The corpses date back to the years 1745 and 1808, peak incidence of tuberculosis in the old continent.
After in-depth study of the extracted samples, the strains of the bacteria of this pathogen were reconstructed, reaching up to 12 different strains, something striking because in modern bodies, patients who suffered from this disease they only had one strain of tuberculosis although there are cases of two or three strains, but never so many, which shows the prevalence of infections between the 18th and 19th centuries.
The team of researchers has shown special interest and attention to the lungs of two of the bodies, of a mother and her daughter, where they were found. two identical genotypes of mycobacteria but in different proportions. It is not known whether the infection was passed from one generation to the next or whether one of the bodies acquired it from another external source.
Finally, the researchers advanced that have confirmed the prevalence of tuberculosis within a growing European population. Thanks to the fact that the historical strains can be mapped with great precision in the contemporary lineages, they have ruled out that even the tuberculosis that came to appear in America could have left the old continent.
They have confirmed the genotypic continuity of an infection that became death itself in Europe, ending with tens of thousands of deaths in a very short time in Europe, where Hungary also lived a very black chapter in its history by having so many people infected and later deceased. Hopefully the research can continue and many more things can be learned about this terrible disease and its evolution in history.
After studying History at the University and after many previous tests, Red Historia was born, a project that emerged as a means of dissemination where you can find the most important news of archeology, history and humanities, as well as articles of interest, curiosities and much more. In short, a meeting point for everyone where they can share information and continue learning.