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Quarantine as a public health measure against an emerging infectious disease : syphilis in Zurich at the dawn of the modern era (1496-1585)

Quarantine as a public health measure against an emerging infectious disease : syphilis in Zurich at the dawn of the modern era (1496-1585)

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GALL, Gabriella Eva Cristina, Stephan LAUTENSCHLAGER, Homayoun C. BAGHERI, 2016. Quarantine as a public health measure against an emerging infectious disease : syphilis in Zurich at the dawn of the modern era (1496-1585). In: GMS Hygiene and Infection Control. GMS (German Medical Science). 11, Doc13. eISSN 2196-5226. Available under: doi: 10.3205/dgkh000273

@article{Gall2016Quara-54396, title={Quarantine as a public health measure against an emerging infectious disease : syphilis in Zurich at the dawn of the modern era (1496-1585)}, year={2016}, doi={10.3205/dgkh000273}, volume={11}, journal={GMS Hygiene and Infection Control}, author={Gall, Gabriella Eva Cristina and Lautenschlager, Stephan and Bagheri, Homayoun C.}, note={Article Number: Doc13} }

eng Bagheri, Homayoun C. 2016 terms-of-use Lautenschlager, Stephan 2021-07-23T07:29:36Z Syphilis is considered as one of the most devastating sexually transmitted diseases in human history. Based on historical records, the "Böse Blattern" (German for "Evil Pocks") spread through Europe after 1495 and shared symptoms with what we know today as syphilis. Many cities took measures to protect their population. Here, transliterations of archival documents from the 15<sup>th</sup> and 16<sup>th</sup> century (provided in the appendix) are used to trace the steps taken by the governing authorities in Zurich to deal with this emerging infectious disease. One of the central measures taken by the city was to establish a quarantine facility referred to as the "Blatternhaus". The city doctors, including the well-known physician and naturalist Conrad Gessner, oversaw the obligatory quarantine and treatment of patients with symptoms. Treatment could range from better nutrition, herbal remedies and skin ointments to aggressive heat therapy and "smoking". Furthermore, the affliction was suspected as a sexually acquired disease, hence prostitutes and infected foreigners were extradited from the city. Meanwhile, the church used its social influence to promote a more "Christian" behavior. In several respects, the public health measures taken in the 16<sup>th</sup> century against a new and menacing epidemic do not diverge in their basic rationale from approaches used during the 20<sup>th</sup> century and today. Quarantine as a public health measure against an emerging infectious disease : syphilis in Zurich at the dawn of the modern era (1496-1585) Lautenschlager, Stephan Gall, Gabriella Eva Cristina 2021-07-23T07:29:36Z Bagheri, Homayoun C. Gall, Gabriella Eva Cristina Quarantäne als Maßnahme zum Schutz der öffentlichen Gesundheit gegen eine neue Infektionskrankheit : Syphilis in Zürich zu Beginn der Neuzeit (1496-1585)

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