2. Slight or partial paralysis; general paralysis.
A form of neurosyphilis (syphilis affecting the central nervous system; the brain and spinal cord). Also known as general paresis, neurolues, acute syphilitic meningitis, meningovascular syphilis, tabes dorsalis, and the great pox.
It was first recognized in Europe as a distinct epidemic in Naples in the late 1400s coincident with the invasion of Naples by the French. The dispersal of the debauched French mercenary army throughout Western Europe led to the frighteningly fast spread of the new disease.
Paresis resulting from untreated syphilis usually develops in the third to fifth decade, but it may occur at an early age in patients with congenital syphilis.