Syphilis along history

Syphilis throughout history

Syphilis is one of the most stigmatized and historical conditions and socially controversial. Let me tell you why.

There are diseases that bring a stigma to those who suffer, or rather, that much of the little sensitized society still stigmatizes people who suffer. I speak, of course, STD , venereal, which are named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love. In fact, with one of these diseases, syphilis , was a saying in ancient times: “One night with Venus and Mercury life” because to those who contracted it He treated them with mercury , which was more toxic than anything else. And the characteristics of syphilis, ie, because of the symptoms and diseases it brings, that life with the treatment of god winged sandals make this disease most curious and influential and I am not referring only to the havoc caused by their epidemics, but the way it could affect the behavior of powerful individuals or enough to change other lives and even the course of history influence.

Syphilis and xenophobia

Name of this STD caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum we owe the Renaissance Girolamo Fracastoro , poet and surgeon who wrote Verona a poem in which a shepherd named Sífilus was punished with the disease by the god Apollo, who had challenged, and later served to name it in his medical book on infectious diseases From contagionibus ( 1546). The fact is that the poem Historical xenophobia has led to call syphilis as a disease brought by foreigners Fracastoro Syphilis sive morbus gallicus was titled (1530) , ie, Sífilus or French morbid . The reason? The absurd habit of blaming the neighbor of the ills that plague us no more reason to hate the other , which is not part of our clan, which is precisely the Database xenophobia .

A syphilis, besides habérsela known denominations neutral such as búa, buba, evil boils, syphilis venereal or avariosis, in different places and times in history, on especially between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries, it has been called “Neapolitan evil” by the French, “Polish disease” by the Russians, “British” by Haitians and “Christian” by the Turks; Dutch, Portuguese and Italians have attributed to the Spanish as “bad Spanish” “Spanish disease” and “Spanish scab” and the Spaniards, in turn, they have referred to it as “bad French” or “Gallic disease”. all very pure and all supporting epidemics of syphilis .

The controversial origin of syphilis


Georges Armelagos (left) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst – EScienceCommons

However, be aware of the geographical origin of a disease it is important to know both at the same microorganism that cause and how it spread and thus be able to apply that knowledge to fight other infectious diseases today. In the case of syphilis, in general, there is agreement that comes from the Americas .

For years, many researchers contributed studies on pre-Columbian European skeletons with supposedly clear signs syphilis, as three of the necropolis of an Augustinian abbey in the port of Hull, The first recorded epidemic of syphilis originated in Europe a few years after the discovery of America in Yorkshire, died between 1300 and 1450 according to carbon-14; or in the ruins of Pompeii, buried by lava from Vesuvius in 79 AD; or other Melaponto cemetery of ancient Greek colony in southern Italy between 600 and 250 BC; or even 2000. C in Russia.

But in the meantime, analysis of 54 of these bones with reports on alleged pre-Columbian syphilis in Europe, conducted by the team of the late anthropologist George Armelagos American University Emory, he concluded that they are unreliable. “It’s the first time these 54 cases are evaluated systematically,” said Armelagos in 2012. The injuries of these skeletons can be confused with lepromatous and syphilis, and yes there are studies on skeletons Columbian American people with really typical of the disease injury, and since the first epidemic in Europe originated a few years after the discovery of America and the debate and references to syphilis began then, they have added two and two. “ Evidence continues to mount that the progenitor of syphilis came from America with Columbus Crew ” Armelagos also said, “and quickly became the venereal disease that is still with us today “.

Everything indicates that a variant of American tropical Treponema mutated to resist the European climate , colder and hygienic, becoming venereal tenacious we know.

Historical figures who contracted syphilis


Friedrich Nietzsche –

There are few, because one of the features of STD It is that, at least until the widespread use of contraceptives in the West, matched to people regardless of their socioeconomic and cultural status , and poor and rich, and famous dudes individuals and suffered equally contagiaban ; there is no need to explain why. is speculated that Bolivar, Lincoln and Hitler also suffered syphilis

The best known case is that of Friedrich Nietzsche , but letters as Stendhal, Maupassant, Joyce, Byron, Rimbaud, Sade, Baudelaire, Wilde, Tolstoy, Verlaine, Heine or Dinesen; musicians as Schubert, Liszt, Donizetti or Scott Joplin; artists as Goya, Gauguin and Van Gogh; and others, like Samuel Colt, Casanova, Martin Alonso Pinzon, Peter I and Catherine of Russia, Al Capone or Mussolini; all contracted syphilis. And is speculated many other , as Shaespeare and Beethoven, Columbus himself, Henry VIII, Ivan the Terrible, Napoleon or even Bolivar, Lincoln and Hitler. That said, as you will understand, since syphilis attacks the nervous system and causes brain damage and dementia in the last stage, it is not unreasonable to ask what decisions of these historical figures have been influenced by illness . And that’s what we tried to elucidate Dr. Deborah Hayden in his book Pox: Genius, Madness, and the Mystery of Syphilis (2003), but did not convince much to its inevitable speculative grade <. / p>

Syphilis today


Stamp of Paul Ehrlich – Neftali, Shutterstock

three-week incubation medium , this disease It is manifested by the appearance of a papule that becomes ulcerated and becomes a chancre , an oval and reddish sore at the site of infection, lost each month and a half because in a few months, the second stage of syphilis will begin. This is the appearance of welts pinkish many different parts of the body, syphilitic nails , which accompanies the headaches, fever, sore throat and joint pain, hair loss and loss of appetite and weight. And the third phase can reach the year after the symptoms disappeared in the second, but at twenty, and may end in death , after suffering heart disease, aneurysms, eye disorders such as blindness same, tumors, spinal injuries and, as mentioned above, brain injury and dementia. Latin America and the Caribbean it is the region with the highest rate of syphilis infection in the world

It was in 1905 when Erich Fritz Hoffmann Schaudinn and demonstrated its pathogenesis, ie the origin of the disease, and in 1913, Hideyo Noguchi time proved that the presence of Treponema pallidum caused syphilis. But since 1901 already had a synthetic drug, salvarsan, synthesized by the bacteriologist Paul Ehrlich, who was dropped from 1944 in favor of antibiotic treatment of penicillin Fleming. Thus, the incidence of the disease decreased much from the forties of last century, and in the nineties indirectly, by prevention campaigns against AIDS.

But cases have again increased and today, according to the World Health Organization, are given 12 million new syphilis infections each year, 3 of them in Latin America and the Caribbean , which is the area with the highest infection rate in the world. Spain , meanwhile, are infected annually 8 100,000 , according to the Institute of Health Carlos III, which means that cases have doubled in just six years. All of which indicates that should regain momentum campaigns STD prevention because, although it would be strange that today someone had just as crazy as Al Capone when he was held in prison of Alcatraz, and forgive me the topic, prevention is always better than cure.


Syphilis along history
Source: english  
October 3, 2015

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