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September 4, 1937

Foreign Letters

JAMA. 1937;109(10):802-806. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780360050017

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Abstract

LONDON  (From Our Regular Correspondent)Aug. 6, 1937.

Nonvenereal Syphilis  At the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine, Dr. E. H. Hudson described a form of nonvenereal syphilis which is epidemic among the seminomad villagers of the middle Euphrates and is called bejel. Sexual promiscuity does not exist and the disease is usually acquired in childhood by contagion under the conditions in which a dirty, careless, poorly clad, closely huddled people live. Sixty per cent of adults acquire it in childhood and a majority of the remainder from children, often their own, later in life. Less than 1 per cent of adults acquire the disease in sexual intercourse. Of the adult population 75 per cent stated that they had had bejel, and that percentage gave positive serologic reactions. Surveys showed that 90 per cent were affected. That bejel is syphilis was shown by the early and late lesions, the uniform presence

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