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Chungará (Arica)

On-line version ISSN 0717-7356

Abstract

RODRIGUEZ, Héctor et al. PALEOPARASITOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF SKELETAL MUSCLE TISSUE OF THE CERRO EL PLOMO MUMMY FROM CHILE: TRICHINELLA SP. Chungará (Arica) [online]. 2011, vol.43, n.especial, pp.581-588. ISSN 0717-7356.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-73562011000300013.

The Cerro El Plomo mummy is an Inca (1,500 AD) child of about 8 to 9 years old. The boy was found near the top of Cerro El Plomo, Santiago, in the year 1954 and is now under the care of the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Chile. In September 2003, as part of a larger study, we examined muscle tissue samples of this mummy. Samples were fixed in formol (pH 7.2) and processed by routine histological techniques, obtaining 5 µm thick-sections that were stained with hematoxylin-eosin and processed for immunohistochemical analysis. The histological examination revealed the presence of cystic structures with capsules. Through indirect immunofluorescence (IFI) with human hyperimmune serum to Trichinella sp. the presence of trichinosis was demonstrated. This conclusion was later confirmed by parasitologists with extensive experience in pediatric parasitology. Finally, although it is difficult to explain the presence of this parasite in our continent in pre-Columbian times, this finding is a real milestone in world paleoparasitology.

Keywords : Trichinosis; mummy; Cerro El Plomo; trichinellosis; Trichinella; paleoparasitology; Chile.

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