An analysis of the world history and the epidemic of syphilis in europe

December 27,

An analysis of the world history and the epidemic of syphilis in europe

Advanced Search Abstract Evidence-based research now allows clear separation of syphilis from other diseases in its class of treponematoses.

An analysis of the world history and the epidemic of syphilis in europe

Examination of skeletons from populations with clinically diagnosed bejel and yaws revealed bone alterations distinctive to those diseases, clearly separating them from alterations due to syphilis, transcending the limitations of current DNA and immunologic technologies.

These insights allowed confident identification of the New World origin of syphilis. Absence of skeletal evidence of any treponemal disease in continental Europe before the time of Columbus excludes it as site of origin of syphilis.

Treponemal disease appears to have originated in East Africa with late transmission to England, perhaps as a complication of the slave trade. The original treponemal disease apparently spread from Africa through Asia, entering North America. Approximately 8 millennia later, it mutated to syphilis.

An analysis of the world history and the epidemic of syphilis in europe

Presence of skeletal evidence of syphilis at the site in the Dominican Republic where Columbus landed suggests the route by which it was transmitted to the Old World. The dichotomy between science and the folk history of treponemal disease and a resistance to data-based analysis have been at the very heart of the controversy about the origins of syphilis [ 1—15 ].

Those speculations can be divided into 3 hypotheses, 2 of which pertain solely to the European question [ 2316—18 ].

Was syphilis a contagion from the New World i. The third hypothesis about treponematosis suggests that syphilis was transported from the Old to the New World.


The key questions would appear to be whether any treponemal disease was present in pre-Columbian Europe i. Actual Recognition of Disease Before examining the biologic evidence that the 3 major pathologic treponematoses actually represent distinct diseases, what is the anthropologic evidence that any treponemal disease existed in pre-Columbian Europe?

Validity could be established by use of an independent measurement, but what measures bone surface integrity? Microscopic examination of the cut surface of bone clearly distinguishes periosteal reaction and taphonomic postmortem damage. However, I have devised an approach unfettered by previous and now invalidated perceptions of how to distinguish taphonomic damage.

Periosteal reaction, by definition, is a process that occurs external to the original cortical margin [ 25 ]. Identify that margin and it is generally quite easy to assess whether any bone alteration is present, internal or external to that cortical surface.

An independent technique confirmed the accuracy of the macroscopic assessment. Noncolligative properties of matter, such as entropy, depend on qualitative aspects of structure, not quantitative ones [ 2829 ].

As a surface-dependent thermodynamic property, entropy is independent of the extent and amount of damage but reflects only surface alteration—taphonomic damage e. Normal bone internal to the periosteal membrane exposed by taphonomic damage has a different rate of heat dissipation than does bone with an intact outer layer periosteum.

Bone architecture, characteristic of endothermic individuals, results in uniform thermodynamic characteristics [ 30 ]. Pathologic alteration of that outer layer periosteal reaction produces a different pattern [ 9 ]. More importantly, there was no overlap in the time course of taphonomically affected bone and that of bone with periosteal reaction [ 9 ], as measured by the reproducible technique described above on tibia.

Not only is the technique precise, it is also accurate. Because bone has only a limited repertoire of responses to any stressor e. However, examination of the population reveals a spectrum of manifestations for each disease [ 252731 ].

That spectrum is highly characteristic, and the outlier simply becomes a part of the spectrum and can be recognized as such [ 20212731 ]. This has been clearly documented for a series of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthropathy, calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease, tuberculosis, leprosy, and the treponematoses [ 20212731 ].

Examination of afflicted populations reveals identical spectra, reproducible even across species lines [ 2731 ]. It overcomes the outlier issue and adds an additional testable characteristic: Examination of populations might reveal isolated periosteal bumps but no widespread involvement, with the exception of cases involving combat or battered child syndrome.

Few phenomena or diseases actually produce nonfocal periosteal reaction in more than a very small percentage of individuals [ 252731 ]. Paget disease, for example, can occasionally produce periosteal reaction in association with other findings. The cortical thickening in persons with Paget disease affects the posterior portion, in contrast to anterior tibial cortical thickening in persons with treponematoses [ 252731 ].

Few diseases actually produce periosteal reaction, except as very isolated occurrences in afflicted populations [ 252731 ].

Exceptions include treponematoses, hypertrophic osteoarthropathy a phenomenon related to intrathoracic disease, cirrhosis, and inflammatory bowel diseaseand perhaps renal failure [ 4252731—33 ]. Those disorders produce a periosteal reaction that often affects the entire bone, but it may be limited to 1 region e.

Expertise. Insights. Illumination.

Treponemal Disease in Europe Proof of European origins of syphilis would first require proof that any treponemal disease existed in pre-Columbian Europe. Actually, there is little evidence even of periosteal reaction, let alone of its existence as a population phenomenon in pre-twelfth century a.Introduction A syphilis epidemic has been spreading in the Eastern Region of Europe since the 90s, with differing extent and incidence rates in the individual countries.

Mar 15,  · Laura M. Gough, specialist in history of medicine, notes that the war conditions represented a favorable field for the first outbreak of syphilis. It has occurred during Italian invasion by the French armies, in a period of time when all great powers of Europe (France, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and the Papal States) wanted to gain control over the Apennine Peninsula.

Case Closed? Columbus Introduced Syphilis to Europe - Scientific American

The first recorded outbreak of syphilis in Europe occurred in / in Naples, Italy, during a French invasion. Because it was spread by returning French troops, the disease was known as "French disease", and it was not until that the term "syphilis" was first applied by the Italian physician and poet Girolamo Fracastoro.

Syphilis – Its early history and Treatment until Penicillin and the Debate on its Origins. Because the Naples syphilis epidemic appeared two years after Columbus returned in from Hispaniola, the belief that Columbus’ crew had contacted the disease in the New World arose in the scholarly and medical literature by the early 16th.

Origins of Syphilis Still a Mystery, Researchers Say

Syphilis History Of If you were to take a look at our World's history there are many people who have stood out above all others, some for their philosophy, astronomy, or religion. The first unquestionable epidemic of syphilis occurred in Europe at the end of the 15th century (Arrizabalaga, ).

With this first epidemic, came the first. The history of syphilis has been well studied, The epidemiology of this first syphilis epidemic shows that the disease was either new or a mutated form of an earlier disease. Some researchers argue that syphilis was carried from the New World to Europe after Columbus' voyages.

Case Closed? Columbus Introduced Syphilis to Europe