Tuesday, October 18, 2011

1 Chalcolithic Iceman Had Lyme Disease Over 5,000 Years Ago

Ötzi, The Iceman, Cometh...

Thanks goes out to Joanne, from the Looking At Lyme Disease blog for posting about an article from National Geographic on the Iceman, a mummified man who had died over 5,000 years ago and has been a treasure trove of information for scientists ever since.

The original article is found here:

Iceman Autopsy - Unfrozen: There was only one way scientists could unlock the mystery of the famous Iceman. Take away his ice.


Source Link:
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/11/iceman-autopsy/hall-text

The entire article outlines the process of extracting and examining tissues and food from within the mummy - an interesting read in itself. But the part that will stand out for Lyme disease patients is this bit:
"Perhaps most surprising, researchers found the genetic footprint of bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi in his DNA—making the Iceman the earliest known human infected by the bug that causes Lyme disease."
It would be interesting to know exactly which Borrelia burgdorferi strain was found and in which tissue sample(s) it was found.

And reflecting on this, this indicates that Borrelia burgdorferi has been around for a long time and in Europe for a long time.

More Information On The Iceman:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96tzi_the_Iceman

1 comment:

  1. Yes it is a very interesting find, the DNA for Borrelia Burgdorferi and it would be interesting to know what species. Perhaps someone will contact the researchers to find out.

    As man has clearly lived in the same environment as Borrelia species for so long someone suggested that this was a reason why our immune systems did not mount a strong response.

    I wonder what has changed over recent years to be causing what would appear to be a growing epidemic and no doubt there will be many factors but I wonder if we are downregulating our immune systems in some way and allowing the infection to get a better hold or maybe it is just the cocktail of infections working together which makes Tick borne illnesses so much more problematic.

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