Syphilis-like diseases were already widespread in America before the arrival of Columbus

Researchers at the Universities of Basel and Zurich have discovered the genetic material of the pathogen Treponema pallidum in the bones of people who died in Brazil 2,000 years ago. This is the oldest verified discovery of this pathogen thus far, and it proves that humans were suffering from diseases akin to syphilis – known as treponematoses – long before Columbus’s discovery of America. The new findings, published in the scientific journal Nature, call into question previous theories concerning the spread of syphilis by the Spanish conquistadors.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft