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#134938 - 11/06/04 09:07 AM syphilis sive morbus gallicus
jheem Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/06/04
Posts: 1474
Loc: California
Most people know that the STD syphilis is named after the shepherd Syphilis who is the hero of a poem, Syphilis, sive morbus Gallicus (Syphilis, or the French disease) written by the Reneaissance physician Girolamo Fracastoro [1478–1553] and published in 1530. Least any of our francophone friends be upset with the term French disease, it should be remembered that syphilis was also called the Spanish disease (because Columbus' sailors supposedly brought it back from the New World), the German disease, and the Neapolitan (sometimes Italian) disease. (The English disease being saved for another thing entirely.)

I've never seen an etymology of syphilis offered, other than the eponymous shepherd hero. It occurs to me that it could possibly have been derived from suphe(i)os 'hog-sty' by Fracastoro (connected with Latin sus 'hog' and English swine, and which reminds me of Elizabethan and Jacobean stews 'a brothel'), though this latter is not related to sty, but rather Greek tuphus 'fever' whence our disease typhus. A sty is an enclosure for swine, but also an inflammation of a sebaceous gland in the eye.

Another term for syphilis is lues 'plague, pestilence'; Tacitus describes in his History a invading German army as immensa belli lues 'a huge plague of war' (iii.15).

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1134/is_8_109/ai_65913170

It also just dawned on me that I've never heard any of the folks upset with inflammable meaning combustible, ranting about inflammation. Hmm.


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#134939 - 11/06/04 11:30 AM Re: syphilis sive morbus gallicus
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
you post reminded me of my surprise when i learned an uncle (by marriage) who was a doctor, (and head of of the Bronx county public service) was a board certifed dermatologist!

syphilis was (in times past) a disease for dermatogists--since it first manifest as a skin lesion.

by the time i knew Uncle Irving, (the mid 70's) i associated dermatologist with cosmetic skin treatments (and acne) not at all with STD's!

what the situation now? (can one of the board doctors help?) is there a specialy for STD?
most women would go to a gyn if they thought they had a STD
and i think men would go to urologist.. (or GP/internist)

but which medical specialty would consentrate on STD's? (there is now a specialty for public health/communicably diseases, isn't there?)

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my other obsession

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#134940 - 11/09/04 11:46 PM Re: syphilis sive morbus gallicus
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
Here in Indonesia people go to dermatologists (doktor kulit dan kelamin = skin and sex doctor) for STDs.

jheem, is there any connection between this interest in syphilis and urethral sounds?

Bingley
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Bingley

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#134941 - 11/10/04 09:08 AM Re: syphilis sive morbus gallicus
jheem Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/06/04
Posts: 1474
Loc: California
is there any connection between this interest in syphilis and urethral sounds?

Well, one did lead to the other. A friend who is a doctor brought sounds to my attention when I mentioned the etymology of syphilis.


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#134942 - 11/12/04 04:09 PM Who treats siphilis?
wofahulicodoc Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/06/01
Posts: 4859
Loc: Worcester, MA
but which medical specialty would consentrate on STD's? (there is now a specialty for public health/communicably diseases, isn't there?)

Usually it's referred to an ID person these days (Infectious Diseases). But - at the risk of sounding like Dr Bill - part of my time in the Army was spent as I Corps area dermatologist, and indeed VD patients came to my clinic. Although there wasn't much siphilis, mostly the clap (that's gonorrhea for you innocents). Anyhow the treatment of the one covered the other as well so it didn't matter that much...


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#134943 - 06/18/05 01:15 AM Re: Who treats siphilis?
doc_comfort Offline
addict

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 618
Loc: Australia
but which medical specialty would consentrate on STD's? (there is now a specialty for public health/communicably diseases, isn't there?)

Up here we have sexual health physicians, amongst other things.


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#134944 - 06/21/05 03:03 PM Re: Who treats siphilis?
Rainmaker Offline
member

Registered: 06/18/05
Posts: 107
I have no numbers to back this, but in the US my guess in the ED docs (yours truly) treat most of this - at least acutely.
Health Departments do what they can, but with poor resources and a problem that is just so much fun to spread...




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#134945 - 06/23/05 12:45 PM Clap?
Rainmaker Offline
member

Registered: 06/18/05
Posts: 107
Hey, a fitting question for this erudite crowd - why is gonorrhea referred to as clap?


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#134946 - 06/23/05 01:05 PM Re: Clap?
Sparteye Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/05/01
Posts: 1773
From answers.com:

Gonorrhea is also commonly known by the slang term "the clap" - suggested etymology from the Old French word "clapier", meaning "brothel". (Another suggested source for the term is from the notorious 18th century brothel keeper known as "Mother Clap", though perhaps her name itself was derived from the slang term). It could also refer to the painful sting in the male urethra, which feels like the sting of a clap when infected with this disease.

But the online etymological dictionary says:


Clap
"gonorrhea," 1587, of unknown origin, perhaps from M.E. claper, from O.Fr. clapoire, originally "rabbit burrow" but given a slang extension to "brothel." Originally also a v., "to infect with clap."


And, Take Our Word for It says:

For those of you wondering where the clap, another term for gonorrhea, came from, no one knows for certain. It dates from the late 16th century, though the verb to clap "to infect with gonorrhea" surfaced a bit earlier. One source suggests that the verb derives from "to clap one's hands on," but that does seem a bit tenuous. A better possible explanation is that it comes from Old French clapoir "venereal bubo". So what the heck is a bubo? It's a swelling or boil, especially in the groin. Eeew!


I guess the short answer is, "nobody knows."






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#134947 - 06/24/05 12:37 PM Re: Clap?
Rainmaker Offline
member

Registered: 06/18/05
Posts: 107
Thank you Ann! Your REALLY impressed my medical student (who asked me that question)! Got a great answer in less than 30 minutes!




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