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Am J Phys Anthropol. 2001 Apr;114(4):298-311.

Paleopathological and biomolecular study of tuberculosis in a medieval skeletal collection from England.

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Ancient Monuments Laboratory, English Heritage, Fort Cumberland, Eastney, Portsmouth PO4 9LD, UK.


Nine human skeletons of medieval date from a rural English burial site show signs of skeletal tuberculosis. They were subject to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays aimed at detecting traces of DNA from infecting mycobacteria, with the purpose both of confirming the paleopathological diagnosis of tuberculosis and determining in individual cases whether disease was due to M. tuberculosis or M. bovis. In all nine cases, evidence for M. tuberculosis complex DNA was found, and in all instances it appeared that disease was due to M. tuberculosis rather than M. bovis. The significance of the findings for understanding tuberculous infection in rural agrarian communities in medieval England is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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