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Widespread occurrence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA from 18th-19th century Hungarians

Fletcher, HA; Donoghue, HD; Holton, J; Pap, I; Spigelman, M; (2003) Widespread occurrence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA from 18th-19th century Hungarians. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY , 120 (2) 144 - 152. 10.1002/ajpa.10114. Green open access

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Abstract

A large number (265) of burials from 1731-1838 were discovered in sealed crypts of the Dominican Church, Vac, Hungary in 1994. Many bodies were naturally mummified, so that both soft tissues and bones were available. Contemporary archives enabled the determination of age at death, and the identification of family groups. In some cases, symptoms before death were described and, occasionally, occupation. Initial radiological examination of a small number of individuals had indicated calcified lung lesions and demonstrable acid-fast bacteria suggestive of tuberculosis infection. Tuberculosis was endemic in 18th-19th century Europe, so human remains should contain detectable Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTB) DNA, enabling comparisons with modern isolates. Therefore, a comprehensive examination of 168 individuals for the presence of MTB DNA was undertaken. Specific DNA amplification methods for MTB showed that 55% of individuals were positive and that the incidence varied according to age at death and sampling site in the body. Radiographs were obtained from 27 individuals and revealed an association between gross pathology and the presence of MTB DNA. There was an inverse relationship between PCR positivity and MTB target sequence size. In some cases, the preservation of MTB DNA was excellent, and several target gene sequences could be detected from the same sample. This information, combined with MTB DNA sequencing data and molecular typing techniques, will enable us to study the past epidemiology of TB infection, and extends the timeframe for studying changes in molecular fingerprints. Am J Phys Anthropol 120:144-152, 2003. (C) 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Type:Article
Title:Widespread occurrence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA from 18th-19th century Hungarians
Location:NUUK, GREENLAND
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI:10.1002/ajpa.10114
Keywords:Mycobacterium tuberculosis, ancient DNA, PCR, paleomicrobiology, history of disease, POLYMERASE-CHAIN-REACTION, ANCIENT DNA, COMPLEX DNA, REMAINS, AMPLIFICATION, BONE, IDENTIFICATION, TRANSMISSION, DIAGNOSIS, ENVELOPE
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Eastman Dental Institute
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Infection and Immunity (Division of)

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