Worms plagued ancient Egyptians

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Researchers examining Egyptian mummies more than 4,000 years old have found relatively few signs of cancer, syphilis, tuberculosis or even tooth decay. Instead, the ancient Egyptians played host to a wide range of worms and other parasites. Among them were organisms which are still causing disease today, including the malaria parasite plasmodium falciparum. Others included worms like echinococcus granulosus, which causes infections of the liver and lungs, and trichinella, acquired from eating infected pork.

New developments in unlocking the mummies' secrets were described in the Lancet medical journal by Dr Rosalie David from the Manchester University Museum.