Podcast # 429: Oldschool Syphilis Treatment - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast # 429: Oldschool Syphilis Treatment

Author: Chris Holmes, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • In WWI, the 2nd leading cause of soldier disability were STDs.
  • An early treatment of syphilis included topical and inhaled mercury
  • Bloodletting, vitriol, arsenic, and bismuth were other treatments for syphilis.
  • Infecting patients with Malaria and treating the Malaria was also tried
  • Thankfully penicillin was discovered for our syphilis woes


Frith J. . Syphilis – Its early history and Treatment until Penicillin and the Debate on its Origins. Journal of Military and Veterans Health. 2012. 20(4): 49-58 https://jmvh.org/article/syphilis-its-early-history-and-treatment-until-penicillin-and-the-debate-on-its-origins/

Summarized by Travis Barlock, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

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