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Studies Clarified That Columbus Did Not Bring Syphilis To Europe

Update Date: Nov 24, 2015 12:18 PM EST

Recent studies want to contest the old idea that Christopher Columbus is the first man to have carried syphilis in his ship.

A report from Daily Mail said that unearthed skeletons said to have date back as far as 1320 AD, from Croatia and Austria are said to have congenital syphilis based on the lesions in their teeth.

The said date is years earlier from the syphilis outbreak said to have started in the 1490s.

In the study, the Department of Forensic Medicine and the Centre for Anatomy and Cell Biology at MedUni Vienna examined an estimated 9,000 skeletons excavated at the cathedral square of St Pölten, Austria.

One of the skeletons is said to be that of a child between six to eight years old and had lived between 1390 to 1440.

The skeleton is said to have the so-called Hutchinson's teeth, a sign of congenital syphilis, which contain deformities in the molars with its small notches in the incisors.

The study is conducted by lead researchers Karl Großschmidt and Fabian Kanz and was published in the Journal of Biological and Clinical Anthropology.

The cause of the massive outbreak of the sexually-transmitted disease has long been a subject of debate among experts.

One theory suggest that on of Columbus' crew contacted the disease in the Caribbean and further take it to Europe. Other theories said that African slaves had the disease long before its outbreak in Europe, Telegraph UK said.

Meanwhile, some researchers are not fully convinced with the recent conclusion about the earliest existence of syphilis using the unearthed skeletons in Croatia and Austria.

Dr Francesco Galassi, an Italian academic who specializes in the history of diseases at the University of Zurich said that the it is still early to give a full diagnosis and conclusion whether the disease had already existed in those times or not, The Local reports.

"It's a great dilemma: at present there are no good examples of the disease although there is some evidence that it existed in ancient Egypt, but it's very difficult to diagnose. These morphological traits are not just specific to syphilis," Dr. Galassi said.

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