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Metagenomic analysis of tuberculosis in a mummy

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Publisher
Massachusetts Medical Society
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Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Medicine

Abstract

In 1994, a crypt containing 242 bodies was discovered in Vác, Hungary. Many of the bodies were naturally mummified, including the remains of Terézia Hausmann (referred to as Body 68 in the Supplementary Appendix, available with the full text of this letter at NEJM.org), who died on December 25, 1797, at 28 years of age.1,2 A chest radiograph of the remains was clear, but the cachectic appearance of the body was consistent with a diagnosis of tuberculosis. In a previous study, molecular analyses of a chest sample obtained from the body confirmed a diagnosis of tuberculosis and provided some limited genotypic data and quantitative information that suggested extremely good preservation of mycobacterial DNA.1,2

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