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Jean Alfred Fournier

Born  1832
Died  1914

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French dermatologist, born March 12, 1832; died December 23, 1914, Paris.

Biography of Jean Alfred Fournier

Jean Alfred Fournier commenced his medical studies in Paris in 1852 at the age of 20. He became an intern at the Hôpital du Midi with Philippe Ricord (1800-1889), who proved that syphilis and gonorrhoea are two different diseases.

Fournier received his doctorate in 1860. In 1863 he became agrégé and médecine des hôpitaux, 1867 deputy to Augustin Grisolle (1811-1869) at the Hôtel-Dieu. In 1876 her became Chef de service at l'hôpital Saint-Louis, where he was appointed Professeur des maladies cutanées et syphilitiques in 1879. In 1880 he was elected member of the Académie de médecine. He founded the Société française de prophylaxie sanitaire et morale.

Fournier is chiefly remembered for his contributions on congenital syphilis, describing the condition in 1883. Through his writings, the importance of syphilis as a cause of degenerative diseases was recognised.

He was also active as a medical historian in this field, republishing works of previous physicians. Among them are works by Girolamo Fracastoro (1478-1553), Jacques de Béthencourt (early 16th century) who gave syphilis the name morbus venereus instead of the common term morbus gallicus, and Giovanni de Vigo (1460-1525).

We thank Detlef E. Rosenow, Germany, for information submitted.


  • Leçons sur le chancre.
    A publication of Augustin Grisolle’s lectures. 1858.
  • Contribution à l'étude du rhumatisme blennorrhagique.
    Annales de dermatologie et de syphiligraphie, Paris. Volume 1, 1868.
  • Leçons cliniques. sur la syphilis, étudiée plus particulièrement chez la femme. 1873.
  • De l’urémie. Paris.
  • Leçons sur la syphilis tertiaire. Paris, 1875.
  • De l’ataxie locomotrice d’origine syphilitique. Paris, G. Masson, 1876.
    Fournier advanced the doctrine of the syphilitic origin of tabes, a hypothesis which was opposed for a time.
  • De l’épilepsie syphilitique tertiaire. 1876.
  • Des glossites tertiaires (glossites scléreuses, glossites gommeuses); leçons . . . . à l’hôpital Saint. Louis, réd. et publi. par Hubert Buzot. 1877.
  • De la pseudoparalyse générale d’origine syphilitique.
    Leçons recueill. par E. Brissaud. 1878.
  • La syphilis du cerveau. Leçons cliniques. Paris, 1879. 654 pages.
  • La syphilis et mariage. Paris, 1880.
  • Simulation d’attentats vénériens sur de jeunes enfants de sexe féminin. 1881.
  • Leçons sur la période préataxique du tabes d’origine syphilit. Recueill par W. Dubreuilh. 1885.
  • La syphilis héréditaire tardive. Paris, G. Masson, 1886.
    On congenital syphilis.
    Includes a discussion of syphilis as a cause of degenerative diseases.
  • Prophylaxis publique de la syphilis. Paris, 1887.
  • Collection choisie des anciens syphilitographes: Fracastor (La syphilis et le mal français, 1527; Jacques de Béthencourt (Nouveau carême de pénitance, et purgatoire d’exipation à l’usage des malades affectés du mal français ou mal vénérien, 1527); Jean de Vigo (Le mal français, 1514).
    A compilation of some older works on syphilis, published on his initiative.
  • Leçons sur la syphilis vaccinale. 1889.
  • L’hérédité syphilitique. Paris, 1892.
  • Die Vererbung der Syphilis.
    Translated by Ernest Finger. Leipzig : Deuticke, 1892. X + 177 pages.
  • Traitement de la syphilis. Paris, 1893.
  • Les affections parasyphilitiques. Paris, Rueff & Cie, 1894.
    Fournier introduced the the concept of "parasyphilis". He showed statistically the causal relationship of syphilis to paresis and tabes.
  • Vorlesungen über Syphilis hereditaria tarda.
    Übersetzt und bearbeitet von K. Körbl und Max von Zeissl.
    Leipzig/Wien : Deuticke, 1894. X + 414 pages.
  • Les chancres extra-genitaux. Paris, Rueff & Cie., 1897.
  • Traité de la syphilis. Paris, 1898/1899.
  • Prophylaxie de la syphilis. Paris, 1903.
  • Sekundäre Spätsyphilis.
    Translated by Bruno Sklarek. Berlin : Springer, 1909. XI + 143 pages.
  • A propos de la prophylaxie et du traitement de l’hérédo-syphilis. Paris, 1910.
  • Marvin L. Corman:
    Jean-Alfred Fournier 1832–1914.
    Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, New York, December 1988, 31 (12): 984-988.

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