Simon Bolivar's medical labyrinth: An infectious diseases conundrum

Paul G. Auwaerter, John Dove, Philip A. Mackowiak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


According to history books, tuberculosis was responsible for the death of Simon Bolivar at the age of 47 years in 1830. The results of an autopsy performed by Alexandre Prospère Révérend, the French physician who cared for him during the terminal phase of his illness, have long been regarded as proof of the diagnosis. On careful reanalysis of Bolivar's medical history and post mortem examination, we reach a different conclusion. On the basis of several critical clinical, epidemiological, and pathological features of his fatal disorder, we conclude that either paracoccidioidomycosis or bacterial bronchiectasis complicating chronic arsenic intoxication was more likely responsible for his death than was tuberculous "consumption."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-85
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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