Volume 11 Issue 214
Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 18-Aug-2009 
Next Update - 14:00 UC 08:00 EST 19-Aug-2009

Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
Vidyya.
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Minor epidemic may have led to mozart's early death  

(17 August 2009: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) -- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died under mysterious circumstances on December 5, 1791 at the age of 35. For more than two centuries, the world has sought an answer to his cause of death.

Theories range from poisoning, renal failure, Henoch-Schonlein purpura, and lethal trichinosis, among many others. In a recent attempt to solve the mystery, researchers evaluated the official daily register of deaths in Mozart's Vienna for the period between November and December 1791 and January 1792. These records were analyzed with the corresponding periods in 1790/1 and 1792/3.

The deaths of 3,442 adult men and 1,569 adult women were recorded over these periods.

Tuberculosis and related conditions accounted for the highest number of deaths.

Cachexia and malnutrition accounted for the second highest number of deaths, and edema was the third most common cause of death. According to eyewitnesses of Mozart's final days, his body was severely swollen in the days preceding his death. In the weeks surrounding Mozart's death, there was a marked increase in deaths from edema among younger men. This minor epidemic may have originated in the military hospital. The researchers' analysis suggests that Mozzart may have died from acute nephritic syndrome, a complication that could stem from an epidemic of streptococcal infection.

Annals of Internal Medicine - 18 August 2009 Issue

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