(Chapter 9) Footnote 27:
Lat. a Gallica scabie. Osseous lesions caused by syphilis, which was epidemic in Europe following Charles VIII’s first Italian war. Spreading to the French army following its occupation of Naples (22 February 1495), it became known to the French as “the Neapolitan sickness,” to the Italians as “the French sickness.” The subject of a growing medical literature by the time of Vesalius’ medical studies, it acquired its modern name from a mythological Latin poem on the subject by Girolamo Fracastoro, Syphilis sive morbus gallicus, a popular favorite first published in 1530. Fracastoro, who studied philosophy and medicine at Padua and served as physician to the Council of Trent, later contributed to the scientific literature on the disease which he first named after a mythical shepherd named Syphilus: Liber I de sympathia et antipathia rerum, de contagione et contagiosis morbis (1550). See Quétel 1990, pp. 50ff., and Arrizabalaga 1996.