Dutch researchers suggest 'super-bug' as cause of Mozart's death
The old slander that Antonio Salieri, jealous of Mozart's talent, poisoned his younger rival in Vienna pretty much died away ages ago, except for the brief flurry of renewed interest in the case caused by the hit play/movie Amadeus.
Still, the cause of Mozart's death has continued to be discussed and debated over the years. Renal failure has often been mentioned. The official death registration listed "severe military fever" as the culprit, which might have been closer to the truth than we thought.
A team of Dutch researchers, as reported in Monday's Telegraph, has proposed that Mozart died from...
Here's some more from this intriguing story:
By studying the city's death register, they found that the three most common causes of death among men of his age were tuberculosis, severe weight loss and a condition called 'oedema' or 'dropsy' – an accumulation of fluids causing the body to swell up.
Mozart's symptoms match the last of the three, according to Dr Richard Zeger, from the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, who said it could have been caused by a bacterial infection. He said: 'I think you can compare this to a superbug like MRSA or C.difficile.'
Eyewitnesses who saw Mozart days before he died, including his sister-in-law Sophie Haibel, said he was covered in a rash – consistent with a bacterial infection – and severely swollen – consistent with oedema or dropsy.
The outbreak probably started in a military hospital with poor hygiene, before spreading to the wider community, according to their research, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
BALTIMORE SUN FILE PHOTO OF MOZART STATUE IN SALZBURG