Severe skeletal lesions, osteopenia and growth deficit in a child with pulmonary tuberculosis

Severe skeletal lesions, osteopenia and growth deficit in a child with pulmonary tuberculosis (mid-20th century, Portugal)

is the title of new paper published by CIAS’ members Ana Luísa Santos and Hugo Cardoso in collaboration with Ellie Gooderham, Luísa Marinho, Laure Spake, Shera Fisk, Carlos Prates, Sandra Sousa, and Carlos Oliveira. The work was published in the International Journal of Paleopathology, vol 30, pp 47-56, and is available in HERE.

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Abstract

This case-study provides a summary of skeletal lesions seen in a case of diagnosed juvenile pulmonary tuberculosis with extensive multifocal bony lesions. Skeleton of a 9-year-old girl who died in the 1940s in Lisbon, Portugal. The remains of this individual are part of the Lisbon skeletal reference collection curated at the National Museum of Natural History and Science. Lesions and paleopathological conditions were identified and documented through macroscopic, radiographic, computed tomographic, and mammographic analysis. The skeleton shows a variety of lytic lesions on the ribs and thoracic vertebrae including complete destruction of the bodies and fusion of the vertebral arches of four vertebrae, kyphosis, and scoliosis. Further pathological conditions were identified, including bone erosion, premature fusion of the left femoral head and greater trochanter, and abnormal size and shape changes to the lower limbs including loss of bone mass and stunting of the long bones. Skeletal lesions are indicative of spondylitis, Pott’s disease, and prolonged bedrest.

Significance

This case is one of the few examples of confirmed juvenile pulmonary tuberculosis with skeletal lesions prior to the antibiotic era. As such, it provides a reference for the skeletal abnormalities which may be observed in archaeological tuberculosis cases.

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Severe skeletal lesions, osteopenia and growth deficit in a child with pulmonary tuberculosis

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