Marie-Thérèse d’Autriche, Louis XIV’s wife, is killed off with the help of some mysterious bug in Versailles. If you read my season three reviews, you know that I had no clue what kind of bug that was and I said I will update you if I find out what it is.
It is called Triatoma infestans and very ugly. I never have heard of such a thing before, but @hoechlirn did and hopped into my Twitter messages to tell me. Merci for that.
Triatoma infestans are commonly called kissing bug or barber bug in English and little blood-suckers. They can cause Chagas disease and are widespread in Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil and Peru.
Chagas disease is quite nasty too. It starts mild, with possible fever and swollen lymph nodes, headaches and swellings were the bite occurred. Then cramps can follow, as well as stomach aches, redness of the eyes, diarrhea and difficulty in breathing. If not treated, it can eventually lead to heart failure. This disease was not known during the time of Louis XIV. It was first described in 1909. Chagas disease is deadly, but it can take many years until it comes to that.
Now, I’m not sure if the Queen was supposed to die of Chagas disease and something went wrong as the bug crawled into her ear or if that was part of the plan. The crawling into the ear certainly prevented the discovery of bug and bite mark.
In real, Marie-Thérèse d’Autriche‘s death was not caused by a bug or anything remotely like that. It was quick and sudden, but the reason was an abscess which had formed under her left arm. The abscess turned purple and purulent, showed signs of septicaemia, and put her in a lot of pain. The doctors treatments did only weaken her further. Marie-Thérèse died on July 30 in 1683, aged forty-four.