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William Henry Harrison / AP

More proof that history is not static: Scientists are re-diagnosing the death of a president who passed away in 1841.

Turns out that President William Henry Harrison - once thought to have died from pneumonia after delivering a lengthy inaugural address in the freezing rain - died instead from enteric fever, courtesy of the Washington swamps.

"A new look at the evidence through the lens of modern epidemiology makes it far more likely that the real killer lurked elsewhere - in a fetid marsh not far from the White House," reports The New York Times.

Harrison remains the nation's shortest-serving president, lasting only one month.

Notes the Times:

'"Harrison had a history of dyspepsia, or indigestion, which potentially heightened his risk of infection by gastrointestinal pathogens that might have found their way into the White House water supply ...

"Given the character and course of his fatal illness, his untimely death is best explained by enteric fever. Pneumonia was a secondary diagnosis - as Harrison's hapless doctor perhaps suspected all along."



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Harrison's death: A new diagnosis

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