Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in News

There will be very few people – at least among our readers – who don’t know that Richard suffered from scoliosis.  However, as an article in the medical journal The Lancet reports, researchers at Leicester University have also found that he suffered from roundworm.

During the original dig in September 2012, sediment samples were taken from the sacral area of his pelvis, as well as control samples from his skull and the soil outside the grave cut.  In the samples from the sacral area multiple roundworm eggs (Ascaris lumbricoides) were found, while there were none in the samples from the skull area and only few in the soil samples from outside the grave.  The sacrum is the large, triangular bone at the base of the spine and the sacral area is where the intestines would have been, showing that Richard was infected with roundworm.

The infection is spread by faecal contamination of food by dirty hands, or use of faeces as a crop fertilizer, showing the different idea of hygiene in his time.  Except in very severe cases, people who have the infection show virtually no symptoms.

The researchers also say that a person of Richard’s social status would have eaten a variety of meats and fish on a regular basis.  However, there is no evidence of the eggs of beef, pork, or fish tapeworm, indicating that his food had been cooked thoroughly.

You can read the full article here.

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