There is perhaps no story in medical history attended by more dramatic events than the discovery of the infectious agent of syphilis in 1905, followed soon after by the demonstration by Wassermann of specific blood changes in the disease.
The awakened interest in the etiology and specific blood changes led to newer and more effective forms of treatment which began with the introduction by Ehrlich of intramuscular, later intravenous, Salvarsan in the treatment program. These two discoveries initiated a tremendous world-wide interest among scientists and clinicians.
The public health aspect of syphilis became more and more a matter of general interest. The final achievement of syphilis control came with the substitution of all previous methods of treatment, by the use of Alexander Fleming's penicillin in the treatment program. What for hundreds of years had failed to achieve more than amelioration, could now be completely eradicated in
WILE UJ. The Cooperative Group Studies. AMA Arch Derm. 1956;73(5):480–481. doi:10.1001/archderm.1956.01550050058009
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