Seals Brought TB To Americas, Study Says

News outlets report on a study published in Nature that suggests seals and sea lions brought tuberculosis (TB) to the Americas.

Nature: Seals brought TB to Americas
“Ancient bacterial genome sequences collected from human remains in Peru suggest that seals first gave tuberculosis (TB) to humans in the Americas…” (Skinner, 8/20).

New York Times: Tuberculosis Is Newer Than Thought, Study Says
“After a remarkable analysis of bacterial DNA from 1,000-year-old mummies, scientists have proposed a new hypothesis for how tuberculosis arose and spread around the world. The disease originated less than 6,000 years ago in Africa, they say, and took a surprising route to reach the New World: It was carried across the Atlantic by seals…” (Zimmer, 8/20).

Washington Post: Tuberculosis first came to the Americas by jumping from seals to humans
“The origin of tuberculosis (TB) in the Americas is no longer a mystery — the seals and sea lions gave it to us. The oldest strains have since given way to our current variety, which comes from Europe. But until the Americas made contact with Europe, a study published Wednesday in Nature reports, our ancestors suffered from a fishier ailment…” (Feltman, 8/20).

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