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Volume 9, Number 12—December 2003
Historical Review

Alexander the Great and West Nile Virus Encephalitis

John S. Marr* and Charles H. CalisherComments to Author 
Author affiliations: *Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia, USA; Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Main Article


Medical history and physical examination of Alexander the Great

Patient characteristics Medical history Clinical symptoms
Born in Macedonia
32 years of age
Heavy drinking
Frequent bathing
Married to many wives
One son Ten years before death, traveled widely (Mediterranean, North Africa, and Middle East)
Unexplained fever 5 years previously
Penetrating right chest wound one year before final illness
Onset of final illness May 29, 323 BC
Death June 10, 323 BC Escalating fever associated with chills
Excessive thirst, diaphoresis
Acute abdominal pain
Single episode of back pain at of onset of fever
Increased weakness leading to prostration with intermittent periods of energy
Terminal flaccid paralysis

Main Article

Page created: February 10, 2011
Page updated: February 10, 2011
Page reviewed: February 10, 2011
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.