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March 1929


Arch Derm Syphilol. 1929;19(3):449-450. doi:10.1001/archderm.1929.02380210104008

In 1723, Antoine Deidier, a physician of Montpellier, France, published a work dealing with syphilis, including under that same heading, as was then the custom, gonorrhea and chancroid. It is known that the etiology of syphilis was, at that time, in a most confused state. A favorite theory stated that the syphilitic virus was a sort of corrosive acid which devoured the solid structures of the body and coagulated the humors, much as did vitriol. From his knowledge of chemistry, of which he was professor at Montpellier, Deidier concluded that this idea was erroneous, since the acids have a rapid action on the tissues and do not possess an incubation period as is the case in syphilis. He, therefore, set out to refute this theory and to substitute for it a more plausible one. In his opinion the syphilitic virus was composed of tiny worms, which produced eggs by coupling,

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