I am no epidemiologist, but I have read that the American origin of syphilis
has been questioned.  There were even reports of an ancient fossil in Greece
with syphilis.  I don't know how valid that claim was.  There was an article
in Monthly Review (in the 1970s, I believe, questioning the American origin of
syph on historical grounds)

In solidarity,

Val Dusek

In a message dated 2/3/99 9:24:46 AM EST, [log in to unmask] writes:

> Syphilis
>  evolved in the new world, creating great havoc in Europe after the invasion
> of
>  America. Small Pox first emerged in the old world. New influenza strains
>  regularly emerge in Asia. If we object to the African origin of HIV on
>  political grounds we are implying that a population which is first infected
>  with a virus is somehow to blame for it. Even if you accept this absurdity
> at
>  least take it all the way. If Africans are to blame for HIV, then Native
>  Americans are to blame for syphilis, Europeans for small pox, and Asians
>  influenza. Pretty soon you would realize that there is plenty of blame to
>  around.
>          -Corey Hardin