The origin of syphilis

What is the origin of syphilis, we have the columbian theory. Syphilis was epidemic in late fifteenth-century Europe, and the early stages apparently were often unusually severe by contemporary standards. The rapid spread and considerable effects of the disease throughout Europe in the last decade of the fifteenth century caused it to be termed the Great Pox, in contrast to another scourge, smallpox. The disease received its present name from the poem by Fracastoro in 1530 about the afflicted shepherd, Syphilis. The late complications of syphilis were recognized early and were frequently mentioned by many Elizabethan authors.

The late fifteenth-century European epidemic coincided with the return of Columbus from America in 1493, causing many to assume that the origin of the syphilis disease was acquired from natives in the West Indies and carried back to a nonimmune (and therefore particularly susceptible) population in Europe. Certainly, if this did occur, conditions were ripe for rapid transmission, because Europe was engaged in wars at the time, and the movement of troops and their camp followers created a perfect vehicle for rapid spread of a sexually transmitted disease. On the other hand, there are Biblical and ancient Chinese writings that are consistent with descriptions of late cutaneous syphilis, although other illnesses such as tuberculosis or leprosy could have caused similar descriptions to be written. An illness suggestive of syphilis apparently was not described in early American natives. These and other considerations led some to speculate that venereal syphilis did not arise suddenly in Europe after 1493 but many have been endemic already, only to become more widespread and severe as a consequence of the wars that conincided with the return of Columbus and his men. Back to syphilis from origin of syphilis