NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Syphilis. Woodcut picture of people suffering from syphilis, a sexually-transmitted or venereal disease, being treated during 1497-98. A man and woman both have syphilitic skin pustules covering their whole body. At upper right a physician is examining a urine sample as part of a diagnosis. At lower centre a physician applies an ointment to the pustules. Syphilis is caused by infection by the Treponema pallidum bacterium. The first European syphilis epidemics occurred in 1494. It is thought that it was introduced from the newly- discovered Americas or was a new, virulent form of another disease.
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