Columbus Did Not Bring Syphilis Back to Europe, Research Shows

Medical Xpress, November 23, 2015

It’s a common notion that after discovering America, Columbus and his crew then brought back the scourge of syphilis to Europe.

But there’s now conclusive evidence that the theory simply isn’t true, and syphilis was already present in the Old World long before Columbus set sail in 1492.

Researchers at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, say they have discovered evidence of congenital syphilis—the type of illness passed from a mother to her fetus—in skeletons buried as early as 1320 in the cathedral square of St. Polten, Austria.


The study was published online Nov. 18 in the Journal of Biological and Clinical Anthropology.

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