At the beginning of the 20th century, syphilis was still a threatening infection. Syphilologists ignored the natural course of the disease, treponemal serum tests did not exist, and the positive Wassermann reaction was erroneously attributed exclusively to Treponema pallidum infection. Guaiac, mercury, arsenic compounds, and potassium iodide, in various forms, were the main therapeutic options with disappointing results.1
Karamanou M, Chatzipanagiotou S, Nikolaou C. Preventing Syphilis in the 20th Century—The Metchnikoff Pomade. JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(12):1334. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.0063
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