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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Mar 15;91(6):2091-4.

Identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA in a pre-Columbian Peruvian mummy.

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  • 1School of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Duluth 55812-2487.

Abstract

The existence of tuberculosis in the pre-Columbian Americas is controversial because the morphology of the lesion is not specific, the organism is culturally nonviable in ancient tissues, and nonpathogenic soil mycobacteria can contaminate buried bodies. We report the recovery of DNA unique to Mycobacterium tuberculosis from a lung lesion of a spontaneously mummified, 1000-year-old adult female body in southern Peru. This provides the most specific evidence possible for the pre-Columbian presence of human tuberculosis in the New World.

PMID:
8134354
PMCID:
PMC43315
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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