Study suggests strep infection killed Mozart

August 18, 2009 7:51:03 AM PDT
What killed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart so suddenly in 1791? Was the 35-year-old composer poisoned? Could it have been kidney failure? A parasite? A report in Tuesday's Annals of Internal Medicine, a medical journal published in Philadelphia, suggests it might have been something far more common: a strep infection.

Researchers looked at death records in Vienna in the months surrounding his death. The data suggests that there was a minor strep epidemic around that time, and some of Mozart's symptoms, including swelling and fever, could have come from strep.

A more than 200-year-old rumor suggests composer Antonio Salieri poisoned Mozart. The rumor has been widely discredited.