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Human Spiruridiasis Due to Physaloptera Spp. (Nematoda: Physalopteridae) in a Grave of the Shahr-e Sukhteh Archeological Site of the Bronze Age (2800-2500 BC) in Iran

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Human Spiruridiasis Due to Physaloptera Spp. (Nematoda: Physalopteridae) in a Grave of the Shahr-e Sukhteh Archeological Site of the Bronze Age (2800-2500 BC) in Iran

Mahsasadat Makki et al. Parasite.

Abstract

Evidence of rare human helminthiasis in paleoparasitological records is scarce. we report here the finding of Physaloptera spp. eggs in a soil sample collected in the pelvic and sacrum bones area of a skeleton excavated from a grave of Shahr-e Sukhteh archeological site dating back to the Bronze Age. The site is located in southeastern Iran and has attracted the attention of numerous archeological teams owing to its vast expanse and diverse archeological findings since 1997. The spirurid nematodes Physaloptera spp. are rarely the cause of human helminthiasis nowadays, but this infection might not have been so rare in ancient populations such as those in the Shahr-e Sukhteh. Out of 320 skeletons analyzed in this study, only one parasitized individual was detected. This surprising result led us to suspect the role of nematophagous fungi and other taphonomic processes in possible false-negative results. This is the first paleoparasitological study on human remains in this archeological site and the first record of ancient human physalopterosis in the Middle East.

Figures

Figure 1.
Figure 1.
A part of the necropolis in Shahr-e Sukhteh archeological site.
Figure 1.
Figure 1.
A part of the necropolis in Shahr-e Sukhteh archeological site.
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
A sacrum showing foramina from which soil samples were examined (burial IUF 2807).
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
A sacrum showing foramina from which soil samples were examined (burial IUF 2807).
Figure 3.
Figure 3.
The six Physaloptera spp. eggs found in the soil sample. Note the embryos in A, B, D. Arrows in (B) show the considerable thickness of the egg shell. The diagnosis cannot be made with certainty for the egg in (C). Scale bars = 20 μm. Egg shows a hyalinized state of its content (E).
Figure 3.
Figure 3.
The six Physaloptera spp. eggs found in the soil sample. Note the embryos in A, B, D. Arrows in (B) show the considerable thickness of the egg shell. The diagnosis cannot be made with certainty for the egg in (C). Scale bars = 20 μm. Egg shows a hyalinized state of its content (E).

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