Jane Austen may have died from tuberculosis

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London, December 1 (ANI): The mystery surrounding Jane Austen's death more than 40 years ago appears to be solved with a scholar's claim that the famous novelist died from bovine tuberculosis.

The Pride and Prejudice author, who was 41 when she died, has been widely believed to have died in 1817 with Addison's disease.

But Katherine White, a scholar from the Addison's Disease Self Help Group, has argued in Medical Humanities that the writer's death was more likely to have occurred from bovine tuberculosis, then common and probably contracted from drinking unpasteurised milk, reports Times Online.

Claire Tomalin, in her 1997 biography of Austen, debated the cause of death, saying although Austen's symptoms could be linked to Addison's she did not appear to have suffered the chronic pain and mental confusion associated with sufferers.

She said: "In a letter written less than two months before her death, as she was recovering from a period of severe illness where she had been too weak to leave her bed, Jane Austen wrote to a close friend that 'My head was always clear, and I had scarcely any pain'.

"Austen retained her formidable lucidity to the last: less than 48 hours before she died, she dictated 24 lines of comic verse to her sister Cassandra from her sick bed."

Carole Reeves, the Outreach Historian at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, University College London, added that to diagnose cause of death with certainty so long after the event was next to impossible. (ANI)

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