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Did Ebola strike ancient Greece? Historian argues disease was behind infamous Plague of Athens 2,400 years ago



•           Theory proposed by Professor Powel Kazanji at University of Michigan
•           He claims ancient symptoms in Athens are similar to that of Ebola virus
•           It contradicts the common belief first outbreak of Ebola happened in 1976

By Ellie Zolfagharifard For Dailymail.com

The first Ebola outbreak took place around 2,400 years ago in Athens.
This is according to professor of infectious diseases, Powel Kazanji, who says the symptoms displayed during the Plague of Athens were similar to that caused by Ebola.
His theory contradicts the common belief that the first outbreak of Ebola happened relatively recently in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to a report in LiveScience, previous research has found that Ebola may have infected the ancestors of rodents at least 20 million years ago.
Ebola's ancient nature 'raises the question of whether Ebola may have spilled over from its animal reservoir to humans well before scientists first identified it in 1976,' Kazanjian, a professor at the University of Michigan, told LiveScience.
The Ebola virus, he says, may have been behind Plague of Athens, which was a devastating epidemic that lasted five years.
It hit Athens during the second year of the Peloponnesian War in 430 BC, when an Athenian victory still seemed possible.
THE PLAGUE OF ATHENS
The Plague of Athens was a devastating epidemic that lasted five years.
It hit Athens during the second year of the Peloponnesian War in 430 BC, when an Athenian victory still seemed possible.
Historians believe it entered Athens through Piraeus, the city's port and sole source of food and supplies.
The plague returned twice more, in 429 BC and in the winter of 427/426 BC.
The illness, dubbed Thucydides syndrome, began with a sudden onset of fever, headache, fatigue, and stomach pains in the stomach, and often severe vomiting.
After seven days of suffering these severe symptoms, those who survived illness, experienced diarrhoea.
Historians believe it entered Athens through Piraeus, the city's port and only source of food and supplies.
The plague returned twice more, in 429 BC and in the winter of 427/426 BC.
The illness, dubbed Thucydides syndrome, began with a sudden onset of fever, headache, fatigue, and stomach pains in the stomach, and often severe vomiting.
After seven days of suffering these severe symptoms, those who survived the illness, experienced diarrhoea.
Other signs of the disease included bleeding from the mouth, reddened eyes, coughs, seizures, confusion, rashes and gangrene.
This compares to the symptoms of Ebola which include sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat.
This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function and internal and external bleeding.
'Diseases like Ebola, which we sometimes lump into the category of a new or emerging disease, may actually be much older than we realise,' Kazanjian said.


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