After the invention of the microscope, scientists discovered a large number of sexually transmitted diseases. Previously, people only knew about syphilis, the origin of which is not yet known. The first written mention of syphilis dates from 1494 from Naples during the French occupation. Therefore, the disease was initially called French disease.
Syphilis has become a huge health problem across Europe. Until the 1940s, that is, until the emergence of penicillin, there was no cure for this infectious disease. Only symptoms that were very severe could be treated: wounds all over the body, muscle aches, hair loss, inflammation, meningitis, insanity…
The London-based charity has encouraged the establishment of a specialist hospital for syphilis, with its first head being William Bromfield. On January 31, 1747, the London Lock Hospital was opened as the first clinic specializing in the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases in the world. As many as 300 patients were hospitalized during the first year. The hospital was later converted into a gynecology and obstetrics hospital and closed in 1952.
The first records of syphilis in Croatia are kept in the National Archives in Dubrovnik, dating from the late 15th century. The record mentions doctor Antonius Hispanus, who concludes that there are a large number of syphilitics in Dubrovnik. Perhaps the most famous Croat to die of syphilis is ban Josip Jelacic.