Requiem for a sore throat

by Anonymous on Aug. 19th, 2009

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Drawn about 2 years prior to his death.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Drawn about 2 years prior to his death.Courtesy Public domain via Wikipedia
A new study just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests musical wunderkind, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, may have died from complications of strep infection caused by what's commonly known as "strep throat". Mozart's death is officially recorded in the city of Vienna's death registry as "military fever", a general description for a condition with symptoms of rash and high fever. But researchers from Amsterdam dug deeper into the city's death records and discovered a high level of edema-related deaths had been recorded right around the time of the composer's death in 1791. Edema is a build-up of fluids in the body's tissue caused by such things as kidney failure, which can be brought on by rheumatic fever. Untreated infection by A Streptococcus bacteria (the source of strep throat) can develop into rheumatic fever. The researchers suspect an epidemic of strep throat may have originated in a local military hospital where crowded conditions would have been ideal for spread of the airborne bacteria. Their conclusion that strep was ultimately responsible for Mozart's death may be the most reasonable one in light of what was happening in the community at the time.

LINKS
Death of Mozart abstract in Annals of Internal Medicine
USnew.com story
CNN.com story

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