Tuberculosis in post-contact Native Americans of Brazil: Paleopathological and paleogenetic evidence from the Tenetehara-Guajajara

Abstract

Tuberculosis (TB) has been described in Native American populations prior to the arrival of European explorers, and in Brazilian populations dating from the Colonial Period. There are no studies demonstrating TB infection in native Brazilians, and the history and epidemiological scenario of TB in Brazil is still unknown. The aim of this study was to verify the presence of TB infection among the native Tenetehara-Guajajara population from Maranhão State, Brazil, 210 ± 40 years ago. A Tenetehara-Guajajara skeleton collection was submitted to paleopathological analysis, and rib bone samples (n = 17) were used for paleogenetic analysis based on Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) targets. Porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitaliawere found in 10 and 13 individuals, respectively. Maternal ancestry analysis revealed Native American mtDNA haplogroups A and C1 in three individuals. Three samples showed osteological evidence suggestive of TB. katG and mtp40 sequences were detected in three individuals, indicating probable TB infection by two MTC lineages. Tuberculosis infection in the Tenetehara-Guajajara population since the 18th century points to a panorama of the disease resulting, most probably, from European contact. However, the important contribution of African slaves in the population of Maranhão State, could be also considered as a source of the disease. This study provides new data on TB during the Brazilian Colonial Period. This is the first report integrating paleopathological and paleogenetic data for the study of TB in Brazil.

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By |2018-09-22T22:26:33+00:00September 22nd, 2018|

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