And in addition to playing an important role in the advancement of human social behavior, the researchers also suggest that kissing may have unintentionally led to the transmission of microorganisms. In other words, locking lips could have potentially caused viruses to spread from human to human.
“If the practice of kissing was widespread and well-established in a range of ancient societies, the effects of kissing in terms of pathogen transmission most likely have been more or less constant,” Rasmussen said.
Still, while various medical texts from Mesopotamia reference a disease that had similar symptoms to the herpes simplex virus, the researchers warned against blaming kissing for accelerating the spread.
According to Arbøll, cultural and religious concepts did influence these ancient medical texts– meaning they cannot always be taken at face value.
“Nevertheless, it is interesting to note some similarities between the disease– known as ‘bu’shanu’ in ancient medical texts from Mesopotamia– and the symptoms caused by herpes simplex infections,” Arbøll concluded.
“The bu’shanu disease was located primarily in or around the mouth and throat, and symptoms included vesicles in or around the mouth, which is one of the dominant signs of herpes infection.”
To read the study’s complete findings, visit the link here.
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