Brief communication: Evidence of Bartonella quintana infections in skeletons of a historical mass grave in Kassel, Germany

Authors

  • Philipp v. Grumbkow,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Department of Historical Anthropology and Human Ecology, Georg-August-University Goettingen, Buergerstraße 50, 37073 Goettingen, Germany
    • Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Department of Historical Anthropology and Human Ecology, Georg-August-University Goettingen, Buergerstraße 50, 37073 Goettingen, Germany
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  • Anna Zipp,

    1. Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Department of Historical Anthropology and Human Ecology, Georg-August-University Goettingen, Buergerstraße 50, 37073 Goettingen, Germany
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  • Verena Seidenberg,

    1. Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Department of Historical Anthropology and Human Ecology, Georg-August-University Goettingen, Buergerstraße 50, 37073 Goettingen, Germany
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  • Lars Fehren-Schmitz,

    1. Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Department of Historical Anthropology and Human Ecology, Georg-August-University Goettingen, Buergerstraße 50, 37073 Goettingen, Germany
    2. Department of Anthropology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511
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  • Volkhard A.J. Kempf,

    1. Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hospital Hygiene, Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University, 60596 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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  • Uwe Groß,

    1. Institute of Medical Microbiology, Centre of Hygiene and Human Genetics, Georg-August-University Goettingen, Kreuzbergring 57, 37075 Goettingen, Germany
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  • Susanne Hummel

    1. Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Department of Historical Anthropology and Human Ecology, Georg-August-University Goettingen, Buergerstraße 50, 37073 Goettingen, Germany
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Abstract

In 2008, a mass grave was found on the grounds of the University of Kassel, Germany. Historians hypothesized that the individuals died in a typhoid fever epidemic in winter 1813/14. To test this hypothesis, the bones were investigated on the presence of specific DNA of pathogens linked to the historical diagnosis oftyphoid fever. It was possible to prove the specific DNA of Bartonella quintana in three individuals, suggesting that their cause of death is linked to an epidemic background. Am J Phys Anthropol 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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