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“The sins of the fathers will be visited upon the children”: Congenital syphilis and leg braces pictorial depiction in eighteenth century Britain

  • R. Bianucci
    Affiliations
    Department of Public Health and Pediatric Sciences, Legal Medicine Section, University of Turin, Italy

    UMR 7268, Laboratoire d'Anthropologie bio-culturelle, Droit, Etique & Santé (Adés), Faculté de Médecine de Marseille, France
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  • A. Perciaccante
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: Department of Medicine, “San Giovanni di Dio” Hospital, Via Fatebenefratelli, 34, 34170 Gorizia, Italy. Tel.: +39 0481592069; fax: +39 0481592074.
    Affiliations
    Department of Medicine, “San Giovanni di Dio” Hospital, Gorizia, Italy
    Search for articles by this author
      Treponema pallidum pallidum, the agent of venereal syphilis, is transmitted by sexual contact and can be spread across the placental barrier. The congenital form can occur at any stage of maternal syphilis [
      • Cohen S.E.
      • Klausner J.D.
      • Engelman J.
      • Philip S.
      Syphilis in the modern era. An update for physicians.
      ]. During the syphilis epidemic, Torella first described the neonatal form of venereal disease [
      • Torella G.
      Tractatus cum consiliis contra pudendagram seu morbum gallicum.
      ]. However, it was not until the early 20th century, when the spirochete bacterium was biologically isolated that differential diagnosis with other venereal diseases (e.g. gonorrhea) could be performed [
      • Obladen M.
      Curse of two generations: a history of congenital syphilis.
      ].

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