Volume 26, Number 7—July 2020
From the Greek rhabdos (“rod”) + mus (“muscle”) + lusis (“loosening”), rhabdomyolysis refers to the rapid breakdown of skeletal (striated) muscle, releasing myoglobin into the blood, which can lead to kidney failure. In the Book of Numbers in the Bible, the Israelites grew tired of eating manna. They demanded that God send them meat. God, angry at their insolence, sent them quail but then strikes those who ate the meat with a plague (Numbers 11:31–35). This may have been an early account of rhabdomyolysis, since migrating quail (Figure) eat large amounts of hemlock, a known cause of rhabdomyolysis.
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Original Publication Date: June 11, 2020