Tuesday, 15 Jan, 2008 Health & Fitness
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Syphilis Was Brought by Columbus

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A new study suggests that Christopher Columbus is the one to blame for syphilis spread. Researchers said that the evidence proves that syphilis came to Europe from the New World. The genetic analysis showed that origins of the disease were from the New World, said said Kristin Harper, an evolutionary biologist at Emory University in Atlanta.

The first evidence of the epidemic of syphilis in Naples in 1495 is linked to the return of Columbus in Europe from the New World.

The scientist examined 26 strains of Treponema, the bacterium that causes syphilis and some other diseases like bejel and yaws. The two strains of jaws taken from Guyana area in South America were also included in the study. It was found that the ancestor of the syphilis came from the New World.

Syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease that can cause serious damage to the heart, bones, brain, eyes and bones.

Harper came to a conclusion that syphilis evolved from yaws and survived in European climate.

Connie Mulligan of the University of Florida and colleagues said that DNA from ancient bones or preserved tissues should be taken into account to explain the origins of syphilis.

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