Sex From Now On, Oct 12 Is Syphilis Day…
posted by January 15 at 15:32 PMon
… since it looks like Columbus brought syphilis back to Europe after all.
The fight about who to blame for syph—and what to call it—is as old as its first appearance in Europe around 1500:
… syphilis had been called the “French disease” in Italy and Germany, and the “Italian disease” in France. In addition, the Dutch called it the “Spanish disease”, the Russians called it the “Polish disease”, the Turks called it the “Christian disease” or “Frank disease” (frengi) and the Tahitians called it the “British disease.” … It was also called The Black Lion.
Now we know—it’s “the American disease.”
“This controversy has gotten pretty emotional,” said researcher Kristin Harper, an evolutionary biologist at Emory. “Whenever you talk about a sexually transmitted disease and its origin, it seems like people want to blame some other country.”
new genetic data from deep in the jungles of Guyana suggests that while other forms of this bacterium have plagued humans since early in our evolution, it emerged as venereal syphilis only when carried back to Europe by Columbus and his crew.
The likely carrier? One Martin Alonzo Pinzón, a navigator and pilot who died of syphilis in November 1493, just nine months after returning from the New World. Too bad there weren’t PSAs back in the 1400s.