Both diseases carried the same symptoms, making diagnosis difficult. Pretoria Subway Map Symptoms included fevers, rashes, genital ulcers, ulceration of the mouth and uvula, gummy tumors, lymph gland swelling, bone inflammation, and agonizing muscle pain. No one, however, knew its exact cause, and many confused the disease with gonorrhea. Indeed, over the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, little progress was made in treating or preventing the spread of the disease. The disease was fairly widespread among white colonists, slaves, and Native Countrys by the eighteenth century.
Syphilis was also common among the British, French, and provincial troops, who fought in the many colonial wars, which may have contributed to its spread. By midcentury, more libertine and cosmopolitan men accepted the affliction as a consequence of sexual activity. Colonial newspapers and imported British periodicals carried ads promising cures for venereal diseases, as did local surgeons. Syphilis even became something of an eighteenth-century political joke. Pointed references to syphilis and other venereal diseases, often used to mock or defame political opponents, can be found in both the colonial and English press.
Imported broadsides, novels, and prints included references to syphilis in colonial political culture. Colonists, too, used accusations of syphilitic infection to insult local politicians, often insinuating that the afflicted suffered from moral laxity or a passionate, robust sexual nature. William Byrd II of Westover, for example, remarked in 1728 in his diary that the disease was so common in North Carolina that it ceases to be a Scandal. He sneered that the ruling house of burgesses had made a motion that a Man with a Nose shou’d be incapable of holding any Place of Profit in the Province.