Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Syphilis - again a New World invention?

Decades ago physicians were taught that syphilis was a New World disease. The Europeans brought smallpox, and Amerindians returned syphilis. This was not a comparable exchange, smallpox and its kin killed most of the Amerindians (and another disease killed New World dogs). Syphilis, even at its worst, was not quite so deadly.

By the 1980s though, when I studied medicine, we were taught that syphilis was probably an Old World disease.

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