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Exp Ther Med. 2016 Aug;12(2):541-549. Epub 2016 Jun 3.

Paediatric Virology in the Hippocratic Corpus.

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Department of Clinical Virology, School of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion 71003, Greece.


Hippocrates (Island of Kos, 460 B.C.-Larissa, 370 B.C.) is the founder of the most famous Medical School of the classical antiquity. In acknowledgement of his pioneering contribution to the new scientific field of Paediatric Virology, this article provides a systematic analysis of the Hippocratic Corpus, with particular focus on viral infections predominating in neonates and children. A mumps epidemic, affecting the island of Thasos in the 5th century B.C., is described in detail. 'Herpes', a medical term derived from the ancient Greek word 'ἕρπειν', meaning 'to creep' or 'crawl', is used to describe the spreading of cutaneous lesions in both childhood and adulthood. Cases of children with exanthema 'resembling mosquito bites' are presented in reference to varicella or smallpox infection. A variety of upper and lower respiratory tract viral infections are described with impressive accuracy, including rhinitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis, laryngitis, bronchiolitis and bronchitis. The 'cough of Perinthos' epidemic, an influenza-like outbreak in the 5th century B.C., is also recorded and several cases complicated with pneumonia or fatal outcomes are discussed. Hippocrates, moreover, describes conjunctivitis, otitis, lymphadenitis, meningoencephalitis, febrile convulsions, gastroenteritis, hepatitis, poliomyelitis and skin warts, along with proposed treatment directions. Almost 2,400 years later, Hippocrates' systematic approach and methodical innovations can inspire paediatric trainees and future Paediatric Virology subspecialists.


Hippocrates; Hippocratic Corpus; Paediatric Virology; children; viral infections

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