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Paleopathology and Paleomicrobiology of Malaria

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  • Author: Andreas Nerlich1
  • Editors: Michel Drancourt2, Didier Raoult3
  • VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Institute of Pathology, Academic Clinic Munich-Bogenhausen, Munich, Germany; 2: Aix Marseille Université Faculté de Médecine, Marseille, France; 3: Aix Marseille Université Faculté de Médecine, Marseille, France
  • Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PoH-0006-2015
  • Received 05 April 2015 Accepted 20 April 2015 Published 04 November 2016
  • Andreas Nerlich, Andreas.Nerlich@extern.lrz-muenchen.de
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  • Abstract:

    Malaria is a disease caused by parasites of the genus , transmitted through the bites of female anopheles flies. causes severe malaria with undulating high fever (malaria tropica). Literary evidence of malarial infection dates back to the early Greek period, when Hippocrates described the typical undulating fever highly suggestive of plasmodial infection. Recent immunological and molecular analyses describe the unambiguous identification of malarial infections in several ancient Egyptian mummies and a few isolated cases in Roman and Renaissance Europe. Although the numbers of cases are low, there is evidence that the overall infection rates may have been relatively high and that this infectious disease may have had a significant impact on historical populations.

  • Citation: Nerlich A. 2016. Paleopathology and Paleomicrobiology of Malaria. Microbiol Spectrum 4(6):PoH-0006-2015. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PoH-0006-2015.

Key Concept Ranking

Infectious Diseases
0.6685659
Parasitic Proteins
0.6627145
Immune Systems
0.55692905
Plasmodium falciparum
0.54761904
0.6685659

References

1. Murray CJL, Rosenfeld LC, Lim SS, Andrews KG, Foreman KJ, Haring D, Fullman N, Naghavi M, Lozano R, Lopez AD. 2012. Global malaria mortality between 1980 and 2010: a systematic analysis. Lancet 379:413–431. [CrossRef]
2. World Health Organization. 2014. World Malaria Report 2014. World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. http://www.who.int/malaria/publications/world_malaria_report_2014/wmr-2014-no-profiles.pdf?ua=1.
3. White NJ, Pukrittayakamee S, Hien TT, Faiz MA, Mokuolu OA, Dondorp AM. 2014. Malaria. Lancet 383:723–35. [CrossRef]
4. Bogdonoff MD, Crellin JK, Good RA, McGovern JP, Nuland SB, Saffon MH. 1985. The Genuine Work of Hippocrates (Hippocrates, Epidemics 1.6,7,24–26; Aphorisms 3.21,22;4.59,63; On Airs, Waters and Places c. 10). Classics of Medicine Library, Birmingham, AL.
5. Ebers G. 1875. Papyros Ebers. Das hermetische Buch über die Arzneimittel der Alten Ägypter. W. Engelmann Verlag, Leipzig, Germany.
6. Aufderheide AC, Rodriguez-Martin C. 2005. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Paleopathology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
7. Gowland RL, Western AG. 2012. Morbidity in the marshes: using spatial epidemiology to investigate skeletal evidence for malaria in Anglo-Saxon England (AD 410-1050). Am J Phys Anthropol 147:301–311. [CrossRef]
8. Stout SD, Teitelbaum SL. 1976. Histological analysis of undecalcified thin sections of archeological bones. Am J Phys Anthropol 44:263–269. [CrossRef]
9. Anastasiou E, Mitchell PD. 2013. Palaeopathology and genes: investigating the genetics of infectious diseases in excavated human skeletal remains and mummies from past populations. Gene 528:33–40. [CrossRef]
10. Miller R L, Ikram S, Armelagos GJ, Walker R, Harer WB, Schiff CJ, Baggett D, Carrigan M, Maret SM. 1994. Diagnosis of Plasmodium falciparum infections in mummies using the rapid manual ParaSight-F test. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 88:31–32. [CrossRef]
11. Rabino Massa E, Cerutti N, Marin D, Savoia A. 2000. Malaria in ancient Egypt: paleoimmunological investigations in predynastic mummified remains. Chungara 32:7–9. [CrossRef]
12. Bianucci R, Mattutino G, Lallo R, Charlier PH, Jouin-Spriet H, Peluso A, Higham T, Torre C, Rabino Massa E. 2008. Immunological evidence of Plasmodium falciparum infection in a child mummy from the Early Dynastic Period. J Archaeol Sci 35:1880–1885. [CrossRef]
13. Fornaciari G, Giuffra V, Ferroglio E, Gino S, Bianucci R. 2010. Malaria was “the killer” of Francesco I de’ Medici (1531-1587). Am J Med 123:568–569. [CrossRef]
14. Fornaciari G, Giuffra V, Ferroglio E, Gino S, Bianucci R. 2010. Plasmodium falciparum immunodetection in bone remains of members of the Renaissance Medici family (Florence, Italy, sixteenth century). Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 104:583–587. [CrossRef]
15. Bianucci R, Tognotti E, Giuffra V, Fornaciari G, Montella A, Milanese M, Floris R, Bandiera P. 2014. Origins of malaria and leishmaniasis in Sardinia: first results of a paleoimmunological study. Pathologica 106:89.
16. Taylor GM, Rutland P, Molleson T. 1997. A sensitive polymerase chain reaction method for the detection of Plasmodium species DNA in ancient human remains. Ancient Biomol 1:193–204.
17. Sallares R, Gomzi S. 2001. Biomolecular archaeology of malaria. Ancient Biomol 3:195–213.
18. Zink A, Haas CJ, Herberth K, Nerlich AG. 2001. PCR amplification of Plasmodium DNA in ancient human remains. Ancient Biomol 3:293.
19. Nerlich AG, Schraut B, Dittrich S, Jelinek TH, Zink A. 2008. Plasmodium falciparum in Ancient Egypt. Emerg Infect Dis 14:1317–1318 [CrossRef]
20. Hawass Z, Elleithy H, Gad YZ, Ismail S, Hasan N, Ahmed A, Amer H, Khairat R, Fathalla D, Ball M, Pusch CM, Gaballah F, Wasef S, Fateen M, Gostner P, Selim A, Zink A. 2010. Ancestry and pathology in King Tutankhamun’s family. JAMA 303:638–647. [CrossRef]
21. Lalremruata A, Ball M, Bianucci R, Welte B, Nerlich AG, Kun JFJ, Pusch CM. 2013. Molecular identification of falciparum malaria and human tuberculosis co-infections in mummies from the Fayum Depression (Lower Egypt). PlosOne 8:e60307. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060307. [CrossRef]
22. Sallares R, Bouwman A, Anderung C. 2004. The spread of malaria to Southern Europe in antiquity: new approaches to old problems. Med History 48:311–328. [CrossRef]
23. Cooper A, Poinar H. 2000. Ancient DNA: do it right or not at all. Science 289:1139. [CrossRef]
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2016-11-04
2017-11-23

Abstract:

Malaria is a disease caused by parasites of the genus , transmitted through the bites of female anopheles flies. causes severe malaria with undulating high fever (malaria tropica). Literary evidence of malarial infection dates back to the early Greek period, when Hippocrates described the typical undulating fever highly suggestive of plasmodial infection. Recent immunological and molecular analyses describe the unambiguous identification of malarial infections in several ancient Egyptian mummies and a few isolated cases in Roman and Renaissance Europe. Although the numbers of cases are low, there is evidence that the overall infection rates may have been relatively high and that this infectious disease may have had a significant impact on historical populations.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1
FIGURE 1

Temple wall representation of an insect (Temple of Queen Hatchepsut, Deir-el-Bahari, Thebes-West, Egypt, c. 1300 BC). Most Egyptological references translate this hieroglyph as “bee”; however, there is also some potential resemblance to anopheles flies.

Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PoH-0006-2015
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Image of FIGURE 2
FIGURE 2

Macropathological example of severe chronic anemia evidenced by orbital pitting (cribra orbitalia). Similar morphological changes may occur in chronic anemia caused by malaria. However, cribra orbitalia and other porotic hyperostoses of the skull are also seen in chronic deficiency conditions, including anemia with other causes.

Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PoH-0006-2015
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