The iceman's worms

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 03 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:306
  1. Bernard Dixon

    Even in a country with the world's most inefficient health service, a patient would be unfortunate to wait 5000 years for his condition to be diagnosed. Yet that is what has happened to a young Austrian. His infestation with the whipworm Trichuris trichiura was confirmed recently by Horst Aspock and colleagues at the University of Vienna and is now documented in Parasitology Today (1996;12:255).

    The delayed diagnosis has been possible because of the extraordinary circumstances under which the 25-30 year old man met his death 5200-5300 years ago. Whether as a hunter or shepherd, or for some other reason, he took the fateful step one autumn of climbing …

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