Saturday, June 15, 2013

Leprosy in Medieval Europe

From BBC News:
Leprosy was endemic in Europe until it almost disappeared in the 16th Century, explained another member of the research team, Stewart Cole from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland, (EPFL).

"It's been proposed that [bubonic plague ("Black Death")] killed off a large part of the European population, including those suffering from leprosy.

"One of the interesting things about this paper is that the medieval and current strains are the same, whereas leprosy disappeared fairly rapidly from Europe.

"It's clear that leprosy has created a strong selective pressure on the immune system. The European Caucasian populations have acquired resistance to leprosy, they have certain characteristic mutations in genes that make them less susceptible," Prof Cole told BBC News.
(Read entire post.)

1 comment:

julygirl said...

Growing up in southern USA many years ago, we were as frightened by it as we were of Polio! As school children we would collect donations for the Leprosy treatment center in Carville, Louisiana.