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article imageDid Strep Throat Kill Mozart?

By M Dee Dubroff     Aug 18, 2009 in Health
Many theories abound concerning the mysterious death of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the age of 35. A new Dutch study suggests that he may have died from complications arising from strep throat. Read on even though the truth may still escape you.
Since the death of Mozart in 1791, many theories have been suggested as to exactly what caused his untimely demise. They range from intentional poisoning, to rheumatic fever, to trichinosis, which is a parasitic disease caused by eating raw or undercooked pork. According to news sources, a new study, which was reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, is based on information gleaned from official death registers in Vienna where he died in the winter of that year.
Mozart’s death certificate officially recorded the cause of his death as “heated military fever,” which refers to a rash that resembles millet seeds. According to this new study, reports of his death at the time were inaccurate by their very nature as they were gleaned from accounts of people who saw the composer in his last days and wrote about it years after his death.
In the words of Richard Zegers, of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands:
“Our findings suggest that Mozart fell victim to an epidemic of strep throat infection that was contracted by many Viennese people in Mozart's month of death, and that Mozart was one of several persons in that epidemic that developed a deadly kidney complication.”
Zegers further suggests that the “minor epidemic” of strep throat may have arisen from the city’s military hospital. Witnesses of that time claim that Mozart fell ill with an “inflammatory fever,” which is consistent with the strep throat theory.
During his short lifetime, Mozart wrote more than 600 compositions and worked regularly until he developed severe swelling, back pain and a rash, which is often associated with strep throat, and eventually led to a kidney inflammation.
This new information doesn’t change anything about the way people feel about Mozart and his music, but it is nice to know he wasn’t poisoned by some rival as has been strongly suspected down through the years.
Here’s to you, Amadeus, wherever you may be; composing or decomposing, whatever seems more natural to you.
More about Mozart, Strep throat, Scarlet fever
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