The History of Syphilis Essay

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Throughout the ages, while the origins to this day continue to be debated, the strength and potency of the disease have rarely been in question. Syphilis, while not viewed as a huge threat due to a decreased number of cases in the mid-late 1990s, needs to be taken more seriously by the public because it is more dangerous than many realize, especially because it is extremely contagious, it is extremely elegant in the symptoms it produces, it has played a larger part in history than many would think, and there is a certain stigma which surrounds the disease, which in turn pushes individuals away from receiving the necessary testing. There is little at face value that would alert an educated individual to the severity and the danger of…show more content…
Two main hypotheses exist as to the origin of the disease. The first proposes that Syphilis had existed in Europe and Asia for years, arguing that the diseases had either laid dormant for years, went unnoticed, or only recently had mutated into a virulent strain. This is known as the "Pre-Columbian" theory (Kent ME, Romanelli F 2008). While no direct evidence has yet to be found, much of the evidence that does exist quietly hints that the second theory (known as the "Columbian Theory") is more embedded in truth (Kent, Romanelli 2008). This second proposal encapsulates a much more dynamic view of the world at the time, and includes the facts that are known. Even though Syphilis could easily have existed in the world for years before Columbus, the fact that the first documented case of Syphilis occurred merely years after Columbus' famous journey suggests that these two events share an inextricable link. The Columbian Hypothesis argues that the collision of cultures that occurred as a direct result of Columbus' journey was not restricted to materials and practices, but also to organisms (this exchange is now referred to by historians and other scientists alike as The Columbian Exchange). While the Europeans brought with them diseases such as smallpox, typhus, measles, and influenza, according to the theory, Columbus and/or his explorers contracted syphilis from the natives, and carried it unknowingly back to the Old
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