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Thread: Measles virus is only about 2500 BC

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    Measles virus is only about 2500 BC

    I'm so surprised by all of this: I thought these so-called childhood diseases were from the Neolithic or something.

    Maybe migration was also a factor. This was a migration period, when Celts were moving into northern Italy, and Greeks into southern Italy. Maybe that's how it spread so rapidly, but how did it start?

    "According to a report in The Asahi Shimbun, a new study of the measles genome led by researchers from Germany’s Robert Koch Institute suggests that the virus may be 2,500 years old. It had been previously thought that the measles virus separated from the rinderpest virus, which is transmitted among cows, some 1,100 years ago, based upon genetic differences between the rinderpest virus and recent samples of the measles virus. The measles genomes for the new study were obtained from a lung specimen taken from a patient who died of measles in 1912, and another sample collected around 1960. Around 2,500 years ago, the researchers note, population sizes may have become large enough for a new infectious disease to emerge and spread among people living in close contact in urban areas."

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    It's good to have an estimate of the age of the virus but we still have no clue of where it originated. It could have been anywhere in in Eurasia or North Africa where there were cows.

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