Two teams of Michigan State University researchers – one working at a medieval burial site in Albania, the other at a DNA lab in East Lansing – have shown how modern science can unlock the mysteries of the past.
The scientists are the first to confirm the existence of brucellosis, an infectious disease still prevalent today, in medieval skeletal remains.
The findings, which appear in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, suggest brucellosis has been endemic to Albania since at least the Middle Ages.
Although rare in the United States, brucellosis remains a major problem in the Mediterranean region and other parts of the world. Characterized by chronic respiratory illness and fever, brucellosis is acquired by eating infected meat or unpasteurized dairy products or by coming into contact with animals carrying the brucella bacteria.
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