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Mummified teenage Incan girl suffered from respiratory infection

An analysis of a 15-year-old Incan girl who died 500 years ago shows that she suffered from a chronic respiratory infection.

The team swabbed the lips of two Andean Inca mummies, buried at 22,000-feet elevation and originally discovered in 1999, and compared the proteins they found to large databases of the human genome. They found that the protein profile from the mummy of a 15-year old girl, called “The Maiden,” was similar to that of chronic respiratory infection patients, and the analysis of the DNA showed the presence of probably pathogenic bacteria in the genus Mycobacterium, responsible for upper respiratory tract infections and tuberculosis. In addition, X-rays of the lungs of the Maiden showed signs of lung infection at the time of death. Proteomics, DNA, and x-rays from another mummy found together with the Maiden did not show signs of respiratory infection.

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Story: Science Daily | Photo: PLoS ONE, 2012

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