Zoonotic parasite infection from a funerary context: A Late Antique child case from Cantabrian Spain
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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the presence of Dicrocoelium sp. in a child from a Late Antique funerary context from Cantabrian Spain and discuss whether the infection is true infection or pseudoparasitosis. MATERIALS: Four skeletons, including one from a 5-7 year old child, have been analysed from the archaeological site of El Conventón, dated between the sixth and seventh centuries AD. METHODS: The paleoparasitological study was conducted through the analysis of soil samples from different parts of the skeleton and funerary context using the rehydration, homogenization, and micro-sieving method, and visualized through brightfield microscopy. RESULTS: A soil sample from the pelvic region tested positive for Dicrocoelium sp. (possibly D. dendriticum). CONCLUSIONS: The child was infected with Dicrocoelium dendriticum, which based on archaeological and historical contexts may be related to hygiene or dietary behaviour. SIGNIFICANCE: We present one of the few cases of the identification of a Dicrocoelidae parasite directly associated with a human skeleton that provides historical knowledge of a zoonotic disease. LIMITATIONS: The diagnosis of a zoonosis through the identification of ancient parasites is complex. In addition, Dicrocoelium sp. in association with skeletal human remains is rare due to the potential low prevalence of this parasite. SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH: Highlight the importance of paleoparasitological analysis to link parasitic infection diseases with socioeconomic issues by using funerary contexts with skeletal remains.
|Publication Title||Int J Paleopathol|
|Author Address||Laboratorio de Antropología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Granada, Av. de la Investigación 11, 18071 Granada, Spain. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.Instituto de Medicina Legal y Ciencias Forenses de Cantabria, Avda. Pedro San Martín s/n, Santander 39010, Cantabria, Spain.Laboratorio de Antropología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Granada, Av. de la Investigación 11, 18071 Granada, Spain.Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3ER, United Kingdom.|
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