Twenty-three men, women, and children who died in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries whose remains were mummified by the crypt conditions in Vilnius, Lithuania's Dominican Church of the Holy Spirit.
Preserved inside the Lithuanian church
The collection of mummies go a long way to helping identify the evolution of smallpox and identifying the historical evolution of viral DNA.
PathologyThe Vilnius Mummies appear to evidence the earliest cases of smallpox as it now exists. Based on the results of DNA comparison, researchers concluded that the current smallpox virus appeared and developed about 1588 to 1645.
Seven of the mummified human bodies were CT-scanned to assess the presence of tuberculosis or other lung diseases; pulmonary lesions suggestive of cases of pulmonary tuberculosis were found. In addition, one case might have been affected by extra-pulmonary tuberculosis.