Hydatid disease (Echinococcosis granulosis) diagnosis from skeletal osteolytic lesions in an early seventh‐millennium BP forager community from preagricultural northern Vietnam

Vlok, Melandri, Buckley, Hallie R., Domett, Kate, Willis, Anna, Tromp, Monica, Trinh, Hiep H., Minh, Tran T., Mai Huong, Nguyen T., Nguyen, Lan Cuong, Matsumura, Hirofumi, Huu, Nghia T, and Oxenham, Marc F. (2022) Hydatid disease (Echinococcosis granulosis) diagnosis from skeletal osteolytic lesions in an early seventh‐millennium BP forager community from preagricultural northern Vietnam. American Journal of Biological Anthropology, 177 (1). pp. 100-115.

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Objectives: Con Co Ngua is a complex, sedentary forager site from northern Vietnam dating to the early seventh millennium BP. Prior research identified a calcified Echinococcus granulosis cyst, which causes hydatid disease. Osteolytic lesions consistent with hydatid disease were also present in this individual and others. Hydatid disease is observed in high frequencies in pastoralists, and its presence in a hunter-gatherer community raises questions regarding human-animal interaction prior to farming. The objective of this article is to identify and describe the epidemiology of hydatid disease in the human skeletal assemblage at Con Co Ngua.

Materials and methods: One hundred and fifty-five individuals were macroscopically assessed for lesions. Of these, eight individuals were radiographed. Hydatid disease was diagnosed using a new threshold criteria protocol derived from clinical literature, which prioritizes lesions specific to the parasite.

Results: Twenty-two individuals (14.2%) presented with osteolytic lesions consistent with hydatid disease, affecting the distal humerus, proximal femur and forearm, and pelvis. Seven individuals radiographed (4.5%) had multilocular cystic lesions strongly diagnostic for hydatid disease. All probable cases had lesions of the distal humerus. The remaining lesions were macroscopically identical to those radiographed and were considered possible cases.

Discussion: While hydatid disease has previously been found in pre-agricultural communities, the high prevalence at Con Co Ngua is non-incidental. We propose that the presence of wild canids and management of wild buffalo and deer increased the risk of disease transmission. These findings further reveal subsistence complexity among hunter-gatherers living millennia prior to the adoption of farming in Southeast Asia.

Item ID: 70842
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2692-7691
Keywords: agricultural transition, forager farmer, South East Asia, zoonosis
Copyright Information: © 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC Grant/Award Number: DP110101097, ARC Grant/Award Number: FT120100299
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2021 05:45
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4301 Archaeology > 430102 Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas @ 50%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4401 Anthropology > 440103 Biological (physical) anthropology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1307 Understanding past societies > 130702 Understanding Asia’s past @ 100%
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