Re: Pre-contact diseases anyone???

Mary Beth Williams (
16 Jun 1995 02:48:50 GMT

In <3rptir$>
(Ethan Vishniac) writes:
>John D. Brennan IV <> wrote:
>> pictured a new bone find exhibiting the effects of
>>smallpox dated several hundred years before Columbus. If you can
>>that there's more references in the back of the magazine.
>Smallpox causes bone lesions? Are you sure you aren't thinking
>of tuberculosis? I remember some news about that, but nothing
>about smallpox.

I was thinking the same thing, but was going to refrain until I had a
chance to find the _Discover_ article. My paleopathology books are all
in the lab, so checking out the visible differences, if any, between
smallpox and tuberculosis skeletal lesions will have to wait until
tomorrow. However, after spending the past eighteen months looking for
evidence of skeletal tuberculosis in a 17th-century West
Nehantic/Pequot population, I would argue that the article have better
have some pretty good evidence to assert such a specific disease from
purely skeletal evidence (Kelley et al. ran into the same critique
regarding assertions of high skeletal TB rates at RI1000 in the 1980's,
as this form of TB typically effects only 3% of all TB cases.)

MB Williams