All Title Author
Keywords Abstract

Influenza or not influenza: Analysis of a case of high fever that happened 2000 years ago in Biblical time

DOI: 10.1186/1743-422x-7-169

Full-Text   Cite this paper   Add to My Lib


Infectious diseases continue to be a threat to humanity, and influenza has been with us since the dawn of human history. We analysed a case of high fever that happened 2000 years ago in Biblical time and discussed possible etiologies.The Bible descrbies the case of a woman with high fever cured by our Lord Jesus Christ. According to Mark 1:29 to 33 and Matthew 8:14-15, the mother-in-law of Simon Peter "lay sick" with a febrile illness [1]. When Jesus took her by the hand and lifted her up, the fever immediately left. The lady began to serve the household and probably prepared a meal. The case is also described in the gospel by Luke (Luke 4:38-39), who was a physician in his days and he specifically mentioned that the fever was high [1].What was the diagnosis of the febrile illness, based on the information provided by the gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke [1]? It seems that the woman suffered an acute febrile illness with high fever and was sick enough to be bed-ridden. Luke did not quantify the fever as the Fahrenheit temperature scale was not invented until 1724 [2]. No other symptom or chronic illness was described in the three gospels. Possible etiology of her "acute febrile illness" is some sort of infection or inflammation. The Bible describes that when Jesus touched the woman, the fever retreated instantaneously. This implies that the disease was probably not a severe acute bacterial infection (such as septicemia) or subacute endocarditis that would not resolved instantaneously. It was probably not an autoimmune disease such as systemic lupus erythematousus with multiple organ system involvement, as the Bible does not mention any skin rash or other organ system involvement. The instantaneous cure also makes an underlying malignant etiology unlikely. It seems that an acute self-limiting infectious illness is a possible diagnosis. The brief duration, high fever, and abrupt cessation of fever makes influenza disease probable [3]. Shortly following her recovery,


comments powered by Disqus