Peering into the History of Leprosy

Abbot Richard Wallingford
By user:Leinad-Z [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
What is it about the UK and graves and dead people to identify or bacteria to sequence? First, there are Black Death graves, then Richard III under a car park and now a leprosy grave site. While we do know leprosy has been a scourge of human beings for centuries, tracking the different strains and origins of the disease is relatively new. Taylor et al. were interested in this grave site near Winchester, located in southern Britain, north of Southampton and southwest of London, because little is known about the disease organism Mycobacterium leprae during this early medieval period (late 11th to 12th century). What could they learn about the strains that caused leprosy and the possible spread of the disease? Continue reading “Peering into the History of Leprosy”