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Mozart: This Time It’s Strep Throat That Killed Him

Hoorah! Time for another new cause of death for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

In the past, you may recall, the Salzburg Stallion’s early death has been blamed on military fever, scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, pneumonia, kidney stones, killer composers, and undercooked pork cutlets.

Now the Annals of Internal Medicine is on board with its own idea: strep throat. Or more precisely:

a streptococcal infection leading to an acute nephritic syndrome caused by poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis.

Bloomberg tries to explain:

A minor streptococcus epidemic, which probably originated in a military hospital, had erupted when Mozart died in 18th century Vienna… The scientists ascertained that strep probably caused his death by analyzing the local death records for the winter of 1791 and the years before and after.

The newcomers think that strep throat shut down Mozart’s kidneys, which killed him. That would account for the swelling reported by Mozart’s sister-in-law, Sophie Haibel, after his death.

Well, good luck to doctors Zegers, Weigl, and Steptoe, who are behind the new claims. With those names, they should have a dance band on the side.

Mozart will be due for a fresh new cause of death next year, of course. Personally, I’m still holding out for either a rattlesnake bite or a bad case of Brahe’s bladder.

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