5,300-Year-Old Ice Mummy May Have Earliest Case of Lyme Disease

Excerpted from the International Business Times ( Posted: 02/29/2012)

The 5,300-year-old ice mummy named Ötzi, discovered preserved under ice in the Alps in 1991, suffered from what appears to be the earliest known case of Lyme disease, genetic analysis revealed.

Researchers found genetic material from the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease in Ötzi. after they took a sample of his hip bone in order to look at his genetic makeup. Researchers found evidence of Borrelia burgdorferi, the only bacteria known to cause Lyme disease.

“This is the oldest evidence for [Lyme disease] and proof that this infection was already present 5,000 years ago,” Carsten Pusch, lead researcher and an assistant professor of molecular genetics at Eberhard Karls University at Tübingen in Germany, told Science Daily.

Lyme disease affects over 20,000 people every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is transmitted by tick bites and causes a telltale “bull’s eye” rash and flulike symptoms. It can also lead to joint, heart and nervous system problems if left untreated.

The earliest mention of Lyme disease dates back to a European study from 1883. The disease was first found in the United States in the 1970s, according to the National Institutes of Health.

For the complete article: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/306726/20120229/tzi-5-300-mummy-lyme-disease.htm

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~ by Rob on February 29, 2012.

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