syphilis (EN)

GC: n

S: http://www.aids.gov.br/en/noticia/2013/ministry-health-launches-campaign-combat-syphilis(external link) (last access: 29 August 2014); DORLAND p. 1857.

N: 1. infectious venereal disease, 1718, Modern Latin, originally from the title of a poem, Syphilis, sive Morbus Gallicus "Syphilis, or the French Disease," published in 1530, by Veronese doctor Girolamo Fracastoro (1483-1553), which tells the tale of the shepherd Syphilus, supposed to be the first sufferer from the disease. Fracastoro first used the word as a generic term for the disease in his 1546 treatise "De Contagione." Why he chose the name is unknown; it may be intended as Latin for "Pig-lover," though there was also a Sipylus, a son of Niobe, in Ovid.
2. syphilis, systemic disease that is caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum. Syphilis is usually a sexually transmitted disease, but it is occasionally acquired by direct nonsexual contact with an infected person, and it can also be acquired by an unborn fetus through infection in the mother. A related group of infections, collectively known as treponematosis or nonvenereal syphilis, is not spread by sexual contact and is localized in warm parts of the world where crowded conditions and poor health care favour its development.
3. The historical origin of venereal syphilis is obscure. Indisputable reference to it in European literature occurred only after the return of Columbus from the New World. The rapidly spreading scourge was given several names, including “Great Pox” and “French disease,” the latter after invading French soldiers either brought the infection to Italy or caught it from the Italians. The modern name was coined in 1530 by the Italian physician and writer Girolamo Fracastoro, who made poetic reference to a mythic Greek shepherd, Syphilus, who was cursed by the god Apollo with a dread disease.
4. Cultural interrelation: Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), James Joyce (1882–1941) and Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke (Isak Dinesen, 1885-1962), among other writers, had syphilis.

S: 1. OED - http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=syphilis&searchmode=none(external link) (last access: 29.August 2014). 2 & 3. EncBrit. 4. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/03/james-joyce-syphilis-study-ulysses-drug-sight(external link) (last access: 29 August 2014); https://ndpr.nd.edu/news/49326-the-oxford-handbook-of-nietzsche/(external link) (last access: 29 August 2014); http://postcolonialstudies.emory.edu/karen-blixen-isak-dinesen/(external link) (last access: 29 August 2014).


CR: AIDS, treponema (EN), treponematosis (EN).


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