Tularemia seroprevalence in humans in the region of the Hittite-Arzawa War (Inner Aegean Region), where the first biological weapon was used 3300 years ago


Davarci İ., ERYILDIZ C., Perçin Renders D., Berberoğlu U., GÜRCAN Ş.

Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences, vol.53, no.1, pp.310-315, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 53 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.55730/1300-0144.5586
  • Journal Name: Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.310-315
  • Keywords: Biological warfare agents, Francisella tularensis, seroepidemiological studies, tularemia, Turkey
  • Kütahya Health Sciences University Affiliated: No

Abstract

Background/aim: According to Egyptian records, tularemia emerged in the Canaan region, where it was first identified and spread to Anatolia over the Euphrates. It was used as an active biological weapon for the first time in the Hittite-Arzawa War in 1320–1318 BC. This study aimed to investigate the seroprevalence of tularemia in the Inner Aegean Region, which is thought to be the region where this war was fought 3300 years ago. Materials and methods: Tularemia seropositivity in humans was investigated in 27 villages/neighborhoods in 3 districts in each of Manisa, Kütahya, and Uşak provinces. Before the study, the participants were informed about the disease via posters, and their blood samples were taken following filling out the questionnaire. Microagglutination tests were performed using in-house tularemia antigen and V plate for serological experiments. Rose-Bengal test was also performed on seropositive sera. Results: Of the total of 410 people, 226 (55.12%) were male. The mean age of the volunteers was 43.72 years. The highest participation was from Kütahya Province. According to the results of the tularemia microagglutination test, seropositivity was detected in 6 cases. It was determined that all of the seropositive volunteers were in Kütahya. When the tularemia antibody titers were examined, seropositivity was determined at 1/20–1/160 titers. No positivity was detected in the Rose-Bengal test for cross-reaction. Conclusion: Kütahya has been identified as a risky region in terms of tularemia in the Inner Aegean Region. In order to use the resources in the country economically, first of all, the risk areas in terms of tularemia should be determined by serological studies in all regions. In order to increase awareness about the disease, physicians and filiation teams should be trained in risky areas. Surveillance studies should be conducted to identify and monitor possible sources in areas identified as risky.