The Oldest Diseases of World Quiz



4 Min Quiz

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About This Quiz

While most of us want to know what our daily life would look like in ancient times, a few of us also can't help but wonder what our death would look like too.

What is the study of ancient diseases called?

It includes the study of ancient diseases in animals and humans.


How do paleopathologists primarily study ancient diseases?

That includes dental artifacts as well.


As Hannibal's army marched through the Alps, what ancient disease might've infected more and more troops as downstream water become more and more infected?

Think about it: the sources for drinking water and environment became more and more polluted for those soldiers in the back of the ranks.


What disease appears to be the oldest human-specific infection?

If some research hypothesis are correct, leprosy could be millions years old.


What is the oldest case of leprosy paleopathologists have found?

A 4,000-year-old leper skeleton was found in India in 2006.



Carriers can have leprosy for years before showing symptoms -- but it's not very contagious and doesn't cause limbs to detach.


What can leprosy look like?

Those with psoriasis were sometimes brought to leper colonies, where they would then become infected.


What disease decimated the population of Athens around 430 B.CE.?

By some estimates, a third of the population died from typhoid.


What is the actual bacterium that causes typhoid?

The salmonella bacteria matched the bacterium to ancient remains from the Athens plague.


Chicken pox was seen in ancient civilizations, but was often confused for what?

Chicken pox was considered a mild form of smallpox.


Where do some scholars think smallpox got its start?

5th millennium B.C.E. Mesopotamia, to be specific


How many deaths is smallpox responsible for in the 20th century alone?

Seriously, you don't want to get smallpox.


In 2300 B.C.E., there are records of fining dog owners for their animals spreading what disease?

Dog owners whose animals caused death through infected bites were heavily penalized.


Bats are now a common carrier of rabies in the United States.

And word to the wise: If there is a bat in your house at all, seek out a rabies vaccine. They can bite a sleeping person without waking them.


What has been responsible for half of all human deaths since the Stone Age?

If that doesn't scare you into respecting the terror of malaria, nothing will.


Pharaoh Ramses V died in 1156 B.C.E. What ancient disease does his body show signs of?

The body had the bumps that smallpox commonly leaves.


Romans thought malaria was caused by what?

Mal (bad) aria (air) was supposedly the source of malaria.


What ancient disease is the most common lethal hospital-acquired infection?

10 to 20 percent of patients on a ventilator longer than 48 hours acquire pneumonia.


9,000-year-old bones off the coast of Israel confirm DNA of what ancient disease?

The disease was previously thought to be "only" 6,000 years old.


Where did the first evidence of trachoma appear?

The first evidence of trachoma is from 8000 B.C.E.


The first edition of "Encyclopedia Britannica" claims tuberculosis was known to be found in:

Those with "quick wit" and "very white and fair" skin were supposedly at risk.


The first edition of "Encyclopedia Britannica" also recommends what treatment for smallpox?

The 1768 book was helpful in other subjects, presumably.


What ancient disease still kills a million people a year?

Take your anti-malarial meds, folks.


Malaria may have killed what monarch?

Malaria parasites were found in his (mummified) blood.


What does trachoma cause?

Trachoma is an infection of the eye.


The value of smallpox inoculation (ie: contracting a mild form of the disease to guard against a more serious infection) was first observed where?

It was only in the 18th century that Europeans caught on.


Yersinia pestis is the bacterium responsible for what very old disease?

Infected fleas are responsible for this, you know, plague.


When was the first (definitive) epidemic outbreak of the plague?

Although there's evidence it existed long before, the first big epidemic only occurred in the Common Era.


Scarlet fever might have been referenced as early as the 3rd or 4th century B.C.E but when was its first confirmed description?

Luckily, scarlet fever is now easily treated with antibiotics.


What "disease of kings" was first recorded in 2640 B.C.E.?

Rich food and alcohol was always to blame for a gouty person.


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