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For many years the sponge fishermen of the island of Calymnos (in Grecian waters), who search for sponges off the islands of Crete and Chypre and in the African seas, have lived in dread of a strange disease, which seemed to attack only them or their fellowmen who worked with fresh sponges. The disease first manifests itself by a sharp stinging pain at almost any portion of the body, but chiefly on the anterior regions. Quickly this initial spot becomes red and swollen and within a few hours may change from red to purple or almost black. Within a short time systemic involvement arises, characterized by headache, nausea, intense fever and chills, sometimes lasting for several days or weeks. The pain is usually general and is most intense about the open wound, which is slow to heal, is prone to necrose, and may eventuate in an abscess. Always healing is
La maladie des pêcheurs d'éponges nus. JAMA. 1935;105(18):1458. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760440068032