Diphtheria is not a "new" disease. Known in the East for centuries, it is mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud. Aretæus the Cappadocian, who lived in Nero's reign, gave a classic firsthand account of a disease affecting the throat which may have been diphtheria. The paralysis of the palate was recognized in the sixth century by Ætius. Throat pestilences are mentioned in the Middle Ages. According to Garrison,1 Gutierrez described garotillo, which was six times epidemic in Spain between 1583 and 1600, though confined to that country. In 1748 John Fothergill2 (1712-1780) discussed a form of sore throat which was probably diphtheria. John Huxham3 (1692-1768) was first to describe paralysis of the soft palate in connection with this disease, but he confused the condition with scarlatina. Bard,4 in America, also wrote, somewhat vaguely, about the disease which is now called diphtheria, while Ballonius, in 1762, recognized the
HUME EE. FRANCIS HOME, M.D. THE SCOTTISH MILITARY SURGEON WHO FIRST DISCOVERED DIPHTHERIA. Am J Dis Child. 1942;63(1):140–153. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1942.02010010141013
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