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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz
ISSN: 1678-8060
EISSN: 1678-8060
Vol. 105, No. 8, 2010, pp. 1050-1053
Bioline Code: oc10179
Full paper language: English
Document type: Short Communication
Document available free of charge

Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Vol. 105, No. 8, 2010, pp. 1050-1053

 en Syphilis and cirrhosis: a lethal combination in a XIX century individual identified from the Medical Schools Collection at the University of Coimbra (Portugal)
Lopes, Célia; Powell, Mary Lucas & Santos, Ana Luísa


Syphilis is a chronic infection that is categorized by a three-stage progression. The tertiary stage may affect bones and produce distinctive skull lesions called caries sicca. This paper aims to present an unusual case of syphilis associated with a diagnosis of cirrhosis, which was recorded as the cause of death in a 28-year-old female in 1899. The appearance and distribution of the lesions were compatible with acquired syphilis, as observed in the skull from the Medical Schools Collection of the University of Coimbra. However, the cause of death was recorded as “hyper- trophic cirrhosis of the liver”, this is a condition that is compatible with several liver disorders, including a primary liver disorder, such as cirrhosis provoked by alcoholism, infection of the liver by syphilis pathogens or by damage to the liver from the use of mercury compounds, which was the common treatment for syphilis at the time. This paper represents a contribution to the understanding of the natural evolution of syphilis.

syphilis - paleopathology - therapy

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