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THE HISTORY OF SYPHILIS

R. C. Holcomb, M.D.
JAMA. 1937;109(12):972. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780380056021.
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ABSTRACT

To the Editor:—  I have just read the Special Clinical Article in The Journal of August 21 by a distinguished syphilographer (Cole, Harold N.: Congenital and Prenatal Syphilis, The Journal, Aug. 21, 1937, p. 580). This contains a section titled Historical Review, from which I quote the following:Torella, 1498, Vella, 1508, and Cataneus, 1516, had the idea that a mother's syphilis was transferred to the child in its passage through the birth canal or later from infected milk or infected mammae. Fallopius, body physician of Pope Alexander VI and of Pope Julius II, noted that wetnurses were infected from syphilitic babies and in 1504 gave the first clinical description of the syphilitic fetus.Now Gabriel Fallopius was born in 1523 and died in 1562. Pope Alexander VI was pope from 1492 until 1503, when he died, and Julius II was pope from 1503 to 1513. How Fallopius could have

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