Despite trying to find the origins of the sexually transmitted infection syphilis, researchers have been unable to make much progress.
According to the "Columbian" theory, Christopher Columbus' crews brought the infection from America to Europe while returning home in 1492 and the first recorded epidemic of syphilis occurred, during the French invasion of the Italian city of Naples in 1495.
However, critics claim that the disease may have been present in Europe before Columbus' return, and it just wasn't distinguished from other conditions like leprosy until 1495, LiveScience reported.
Syphilis is capable of damaging heart, brain, eyes and bones, and can even be fatal if left untreated.
The first mention of the disease appears in the historical record in the 1496 writings of a man who went by the name Joseph Grnpeck.
However, Italian physician and poet Girolamo Fracastoro was the first man to use the word "syphilis" in 1530 in a Latin poem.
The study has been published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.