Squirrel furs : A recent study by the scientists found the evidence that the medieval likings for the beautiful fine fur of red squirrels, traded with Viking Scandinavia, may have been a factor in the spread of leprosy. A woman who died more than 1000 years ago in Suffolk, her skull was analysed and they found that leprosy strains closely related to the type of leprosy still found in modern red squirrels. She suffered from the same strain of leprosy as other medieval skeletons from along the East Anglian coast, and from skeletons of the period from Denmark and Sweden.Research has identified a growing number of medieval leprosy cases in human remains in East Anglia, where there were strong North Sea trade links with Scandinavia. Experts believe that the disease may have been transferred to these people from squirrel furs and meat imported from Scandinavia.
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