The term comes from Greek:

-βoυβớν = boubon = swelling of the inguinal gland

-In other words it is an adenopathy of inguinal lymph mode – also called bubon.


Today the term is less and less used probably because Hippocrates (of Kos) described it for thé plague, which was prevalent in Ancient Times.

The bubo is the most prevalent manifestation in the plague: it appears 2-5 days after the bacteria (Yersinia Pestis) is inoculated by bites from fleas living on rodents (rats).

Alexander Yersin (student of Louis Pasteur) discovered the responsible agent in 1894 in Indochina by examining tissue from the bubo. At the same time a Japanese Baron and physician Kitasato Shibasaburō (北里 柴三郎) was unable to find the agent when examining internal organs and blood.


The term bubo is/was also used in sexually transmitted conditions such as syphilis, chancroid, lymphogranuloma venereum (Nicolas-Favre disease) and tuberculosis (scrofuloderma)



Source of information: Harms M. Dermatologica Helvetica (The Swiss Journal of Dermatology and Venereology)