Syphilis is a venereal disease which as is true of all venereal diseases should not be taken lightly. MayoClinic.com reports that syphilis is a bacterial infection which is usually spread by sexual contact. Although early syphilis can be cured, sometimes with a single injection of penicillin, without treatment, syphilis can severely damage your heart, brain or other organs, and can be life-threatening. And the genital sores which are associated with syphilis can make it easier to become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Epidemiologists have searched far and wide for answers to where syphilis first began. Charles Q. Choi has reported for LiveScience “Case Closed? Columbus Introduced Syphilis to Europe.” It has been suggested by new skeletal evidence that Columbus and his crew not only introduced the Old World to the New World, but brought back syphilis with them as well.
During the Renaissance in 1495 the first known epidemic of syphilis occurred. After the French king Charles the VIII invaded Naples a sypilis plague broke out among his army. George Armelagos, a skeletal biologist at Emory University in Atlanta, says syphilis than spread to devastate Europe.
Molly Zuckerman, researcher at Mississippi State University has said “Syphilis has been around for 500 years. People started debating where it came from shortly afterward, and they haven’t stopped since. It was one of the first global diseases, and understanding where it came from and how it spread may help us combat diseases today.”
Research has showed skeletons which have definite signs of treponemal disease appeared to be dated to after Columbus returned to Europe. Armelagos has commented “What it really shows to me is that globalization of disease is not a modern condition. In 1492, you had the transmission of a number of diseases from Europe that decimated Native Americans, and you also had disease from Native Americans to Europe.”
And Zuckerman has commented “The origin of syphilis is a fascinating, compelling question. The current evidence is pretty definitive, but we shouldn’t close the book and say we’re done with the subject. The great thing about science is constantly being able to understand things in a new light.” Continued investigations into the origins and spread of syphilis may enable us to better understand how to control this and other infectious diseases.
Mandel News Service