Syphilis

What is Syphilis?

Syphilis is a chronic systemic infection caused by a microbe called a spirochete. Syphilis is a venereal disease, which is sexually transmitted from sex workers and is thus acquired. However, congenital syphilis also occurs though uncommon.

Clinical Features of Syphilis

1. Primary Syphilis

The bacteria involved enters the body through the mucous membrane of the genital organ, rectum or mouth. The primary lesion, chancre or sore appears on the penis, persists for 2-3 weeks and then heals spontaneously.

2. Secondary Syphilis

Symptoms appear 6-8 weeks after the healing of the primary ulcer. The clinical features are fever, pains, loss of appetite and the appearance of a red rash on the chest wall. Lymph nodes are enlarged. The secondary stage lasts 2-6 weeks.

3. Latent Stage

This stage appears months or years after the original infection. Tumour like masses called gummas form and may occur in the skin or in the other organs of the body.

4. Late Stage

This stage affects the aorta or central nervous system. The patient has blindness, paralysis, weakness of muscles, stabbing pains, unsteadiness in walking.

Management of Syphilis

1. Avoid intercourse with sex workers.
2. Use of condoms.
3. Avoid alcohol. A drunken man always makes mistakes.
4. Consult a physician.