Skeleton with oldest known case of leprsoy discovered in Hungary

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A skeleton with the most ancient example of leprosy has been discovered in Hungary. The human remains, which feature a rare set of bone lesions thought to indicate the possible presence of leprosy, were found among 400 historical artefacts during an archaeological dig near the town of Abony-Turjányos dűlő, central Hungary.

Skeleton with oldest known case of leprsoy discovered in Hungary
A skeleton dating back to approximately 3780-3650 BC has been discovered in Hungary and is thought
 to contain the oldest example of bone lesions symptomatic of leprosy [Credit: EPA]

The bones date back to approximately 3780-3650 BC, a period known as the Protoboleráz horizon which occurred at the start of the Late Chalcolithic period.

They are the oldest known example of the long-term bacterial infection, also known as Hansen’s disease, and significantly modify scientists’ knowledge about its timescale and geographical spread.

The most striking lesions were found on the skeleton’s facial bones, including ‘erosion of the nasal aperture, atrophy of the anterior nasal spine, inflammation of the nasal bone and porosity on both the maxilla and the bones of the lower legs,’ Hungary’s state website reported.

The skeleton was uncovered alongside 48 sets of human remains, four of which are thought to also contain symptoms of leprosy, though other infections have not yet been ruled out.

Author: Karen Gilchrist | Source: Daily Mail [October 22, 2017]

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