18 August 2009

This is cool

What killed Mozart?
Mozart’s sister-in-law, the authors note, said that his body became so swollen during his fatal illness that he could not turn in bed. His cause of death in a Viennese death registry was “hitziges Frieselfieber,” or fever and rash.

But all of these things — swelling, fever, rash — are symptoms that don’t tell us what the underlying disease was. Speculation since the time of Mozart’s death has ranged from poisoning, to syphilis, to trichinosis from eating undercooked pork chops.


  1. There are thousands of infections that cause massive edema. Still, I vote for syphilis.

  2. I've read speculations of strep, syphilis, and other assorted bacterial infections. It's kind of hard to believe people made it to their thirties, even, given how many infectious diseases were lethal (or potentially so) without treatment with the penicillin that hadn't yet been discovered/formulated.


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