Was Malaria Edemic in Ancient Egypt?

I saw the recent report on the (delayed) autopsy of King Tutankahmon. Apparently, the poor kid died of malaria-he was only 19.
Was malaria endemic in Ancient Egypt? I thought that with such a dry climate, Egypt would be less liley to harbor mosquitos-of course, you have the river Nile.
Anyway, how did they determine this? didin’t the king’s embalmers remove his brain?
Incidentally Dr. Zahi Hawass was there-mugging fro the camera (as is usual)!

They think he suffered from malaria because they did genetic testing and found genes of the parasite that causes malaria.

And Dr. Hawass was mugging for the camera because that’s his job and because he was the one who was in charge of the study.

The mosquito is Aedes aegypti for a reason.

By the way, there appear to have been quite a lot of genetically-tranmitted ailments in the pharaohs of the late 18th dynasty, Tut’s dynasty (he was either son or younger brother of Akhnaten). Was any of that covered in the program?

Yes, from al-Jazeera


Yes malaria was endemic in ancient Egypt. Malaria is still endemic in modern Egypt as well.

No its not. Human malaria parasites - all 4 (now maybe 5) species - are transmitted only by Anopheles mosquitoes. Aedes aegypti transmits dengue virus and yellow fever virus. It will transmit other types of malaria parasites (some species of bird and lizard parasites) but not those that infect humans.

Though only barely now, around El Fayium. On the list of current health issues in Egypt, it is almost an afterthought at this point.

Right. I got my mosquito genera swapped. (I learned Culex, Anopheles, and Aedes at about the same time, hence my error.)

True. Egypt has a pretty good public health system that has for the most part controlled it in most areas.

People forget that up until recently (within the last 100 years) malaria was endemic in the USA as well, epidemics in New York and such. There are highly competent native Anopheles species that still can cause local outbreaks if an infected person enters. There has even been some very focal sustained transmission in illegal migrant labor camps in Florida.

Does anyone know how this study came about? Had they been petitioning for permission to perform such an autopsy for years? (I understand Egypt is very protective of their mummies.) While I caught a report of the findings on CNN, I did not hear them mention how difficult it was to get permission to perform such a study, etc…any SDopers hear word on this part of the story?

My guess is the key man in Egypt to get is Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities. Make sure he leads the research on it.