The "French Disease" Plagued Their Lives
Didb72 on 06/19/2009
|The term "French disease" refers to syphilis. In this quiz, we will have a look at ten historical syphilis related cases.|
Definition from MedicineNet.com: Depending upon someone's thoughts as to where the disease came from, syphilis was also known as the Italian, Spanish, German and Polish disease. The name "syphilis" was coined by Renaissance man Hieronymus Fracastorius. In 1530 he published the poem "Syphilis sive morbus gallicus" (Syphilis or the French Disease) in which the name of the disease first appeared.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. Syphilis is transmitted via sexual intercourse. However, several cases of congenital syphilis have been described with transmission of the disease from the mother to the child in utero. Syphilis can generally be treated with antibiotics (penicillin). If syphilis is left untreated, it can damage the heart, aorta, brain, eyes, and bones. Signs and symptoms of the late stage of syphilis include difficulty coordinating muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, and dementia. In some cases these effects can be fatal.
Researchers thought that syphilis was brought to Europe from the New World with Columbus' voyages. Researchers suggested that syphilis was carried to Europe as a nonvenereal bacteria that may have mutated later into a more deadly form because of the low immunity displayed by Europeans. The disease easily spread owing to unprotected sexual intercourse between local prostitutes and foreign sailors and soldiers.
The sources for the quiz are MedicineNet.com and several online encyclopedias. The quiz has not been built for speed. Enjoy!
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