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Syphilis Facts, Transmission and Symptoms
What is syphilis?
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. Syphilis, a spirochete (spiral-shaped) bacterial infection, can live anywhere in the body and needs moisture to survive. It is usually found in the genitals, anus, mouth, and lips.
How is syphilis transmitted?
The route of transmission is almost always through sexual contact, although it can be passed from mother to child by the placenta. The bacteria can also be passed from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore.
Syphilis is not passed through inanimate objects such as toilet seats, doorknobs, swimming pools, bath-tubs, or through sharing clothing.
What are the symptoms of syphilis?
Syphilis is often called “the great imitator” because so many signs and symptoms are indistinguishable from those of other diseases. Symptoms change through progressive stages. It is manifested first by a chancre (10-90 days), followed by a slight fever, and then progresses through several stages that include skin eruptions and functional abnormalities resulting from cardiovascular and nervous system lesions. It initially causes sores that sometimes heal by themselves but if untreated can lead to advanced stages that can damage the heart and nervous system.
long term signs or symptoms of syphilis can be the peeling of the palms of your hands or the bottom of your feet, rash-like sores.
A chancre is usually firm, round, small, and painless, usually occurring where syphilis enters your body.
Can syphilis be treated or cured?
Syphilis is cured with antibiotics. It is best if diagnosis and treatment is administered within the first year of infection. Treatment will kill the bacteria but it will not repair damages already done and it will not repair serious long-term health complications caused by the infection.
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