September 6th 2009

New theories on Mozart’s death

Last week, a team of researchers at the University of Amsterdam put forward a new theory on what have may suddenly killed famed composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart two centuries ago.

According to the study, a common streptococcal infection may have been what led the 35-year-old to his death on December 5th, 1751.

They discovered new historical accounts of his sudden illness, and found symptoms that included a fever, rash, pain in his limbs and dramatic swelling. Following that, they compared this data with over  5,000 other medical reports from the same time frame.

The team found that Vienna – where Mozart lived – had suffered a strep epidemic around the same time of Mozart’s death. They anticipate that he had contracted strep throat, which later affected his kidney’s, resulting in edema, causing the swelling.

The report was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and the team noted there were an increase in  edema-related deaths  among younger men in the weeks surrounding Mozart’s death compared with other years. Scarlet fever, they noted, was also a possibility.

This has been long debated, as researchers and historians have come to varying conclusions as to what killed Mozart, with theories ranging from unknown conditions to contracting a parasite from eating bad pork.

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.