The Mummy's Tale

A woman's remains prove that tuberculosis existed in the New World before Columbus crossed the sea

The ghosts of Columbus and his fellow European explorers can breathe a bit easier. They have long been accused of slaying New World natives not just with swords but also with germs. Supposedly, the sailors -- and eventual settlers -- brought with them the bugs for illnesses unknown in the Americas, including smallpox, measles, influenza, malaria and tuberculosis. Never having been exposed to these ailments, natives had no immunity. Now, though, the European invaders have been exonerated as the carriers of at least one disease to the New World. Scientists said last week that they had found DNA from the TB...

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