Fracastoro, Girolamo (jērôˈlämō fräkästôˈrō) [key], 1483–1553, Italian physician and poet. He was born in Verona, where he practiced after studying at Padua. He studied epidemic diseases and attributed their spread to tiny particles, or spores, that could transmit infection by direct or indirect contact or even without contact over long distances. He wrote a long poem (1530) on syphilis, from the title of which the disease takes its name.
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