Two probable cases of infection with Treponema pallidum during the Neolithic period in Northern Vietnam (~2000- 1500B.C.)

Vlok, Melandri, Oxenham, Marc Fredrick, Domett, Kate, Tran Thi, Minh, Nguyen Thi Mai, Huong, Matsumura, Hirofumi, Trinh, Hiep Hoang, Higham, Tom, Higham, Charles, Nghia, Truonh Huu, and Buckley, Hallie Ruth (2020) Two probable cases of infection with Treponema pallidum during the Neolithic period in Northern Vietnam (~2000- 1500B.C.). Bioarchaeology International, 4 (1). pp. 15-36.

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View at Publisher Website: https://doi.org/10.5744/bi.2020.1000
 
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Abstract

Skeletal evidence of two probable cases of treponematosis, caused by infection with the bacterium Treponema pallidum, from the northern Vietnamese early Neolithic site of Man Bac (1906–1523 cal B.C.) is described. The presence of nodes of subperiosteal new bone directly associated with superfcial focal cavitations in a young adult male and a seven- year- old child are strongly diagnostic for treponemal disease. Climatic and epidemiological contexts suggest yaws (Treponema pallidum pertenue) as the most likely causative treponeme. This evidence is the oldest discovered in the Asia- Pacific region and is the first well- established pre-Columbian example in this region in terms of diagnosis and secure dating. The coastal ecology, sedentary settlement, and high fertility at the site of Man Bac all provided a biosocial context conducive to the spread of treponemal disease among inhabitants of the site. Co- morbidity with scurvy in both individuals demonstrates that malnutrition during the agricultural transition may have exacerbated the expression of treponematosis in this community.

Man Bac is a site of great regional importance owing to its role during the Neolithic transition of Mainland Southeast Asia. During this transition, approximately 4,000 years ago, farmers migrating from southern China into Southeast Asia influenced a number of changes in subsistence and demography and potentially introduced new infectious diseases such as treponematosis to indigenous forager communities. The findings presented here may encourage reevaluation of existing Southeast Asian skeletal samples and demonstrate the importance of using weighted diagnostic criteria for future reporting of treponematosis cases.

Item ID: 64604
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2472-8357
Copyright Information: Published Version: Copyright © 2020 University of Florida Press. Accepted Version: Authors may self-archive the preprint (accepted manuscript) version of the article at any time within a personal website or institutional repository.
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2020 23:54
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160102 Biological (Physical) Anthropology @ 50%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210103 Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950502 Understanding Asias Past @ 100%
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