Syphilis

Syphilis is a bacterial infection caused by Treponema pallidum – a spiral organism identified by its motility under a microscope. The incubation period for the infection (ie, time from initial exposure to development of infection) varies from 10 to 90 days, with an average of about three weeks. Syphilis is also classified as an ulcerative STI because the infection causes sores or open lesions mainly on external genitals, anus, vagina or lips. The infection is passed when a noninfected person comes into contact with a lesion, usually during sexual activity such as vaginal, anal or oral sex. Once the bacteria enter the skin – usually through minute cuts or abrasions – the bacteria multiply locally and then spread to lymph nodes. The risk of getting infected over a certain period of time through sexual transmission from an infected to an uninfected person is roughly 30 – 60%.1  Pregnant women can also pass it to their babies through the placenta. Such transmission can result in stillbirth or severe deformities in the newborn.2 What are the Stages of Syphilis? Syphilis is a systemic disease that can affect various systems in the body and can last a lifetime. The disease progresses through four distinct phases: Primary Secondary Latent (early & late) Tertiary What is Primary Syphilis? •Single sore (chancre), there could be multiple too •Firm, round, painless; indicates point of bacterial entry •Typically occurs on genital skin and mucosa •May also occur in mouth, hands, or other parts of body •Heals by itself in 3-6 weeks The primary lesion of syphilis is a chancre or a single sore. The sore is the...