In 1496, an epidemic of syphilis spread to France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and then was registered in Austria, Hungary, Poland, which led to the death of more than 5 million people. But where did this attack come from?
According to one of the versions, Christopher Columbus brought not only tobacco, potatoes, tomatoes, corn, gold, slaves from America to Europe, but he also "took" syphilis with him. The soldiers and sailors who accompanied Columbus in the discovery of the new world caught syphilis from the aboriginal women, and upon returning home spread this disease throughout Europe.
The disease of syphilis was given this name by the Italian poet and physician Girolamo Fracastoro in 1530. Until that time in Italy it was known as the "French disease", and in France, on the contrary, as the "Italian disease". In the Netherlands, syphilis was called the "Spanish disease", in Russia - the "Polish disease", in the Ottoman Empire - the "Christian disease".
The first remedy for the treatment of syphilis - mercury compounds and mercury ointments - was proposed by the famous Paracelsus. The mercury ointment was rubbed into the legs. Mercury preparations were used for 450 years; in the USSR, until 1963, the drugs of this group were included in the clinical guidelines for the treatment of syphilis.
Great confusion in the study of syphilis was introduced by the British surgeon John Hunter (in some sources Genter). To prove that the manifestations of syphilis and gonorrhea belong to the same disease, in 1767 he inoculated into the head of the penis and on the foreskin pus from the urethra of a patient with gonorrhea ... and fell ill with syphilis. To his joy, he did not even realize that the patient was sick with both diseases. As a result of this oversight, the belief that the manifestations of syphilis and gonorrhea represent different forms of the course of the same disease prevailed for more than 100 years.
The Frenchman Philippe Ricord, during research from 1831 to 1837, infected 700 people (mostly prisoners) with syphilis and 667 with gonorrhea.
Some untreated patients with syphilis remain chronic carriers of pale treponema without symptoms of tertiary syphilis all their lives.
Syphilis is transmitted from one partner to another through saliva during a kiss, through any common object (spoon, cup, toothbrush, lipstick, cigarette, etc.), which has a non-dried discharge containing pale treponema. Syphilis that has arisen in this way is called common syphilis.