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Get to know Syphillis and how it affects the human body

Syphilis is one type of sexually transmitted disease. Syphilis is the result of a bacterial infection of the genital tract by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. Syphilis is passed from one person to another during direct sexual contact with a syphilis lesion that involves vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Syphilis can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy and result in stillbirth or serious birth defects.

Syphilis is an acute and chronic infectious disease caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum and transmitted by direct contact, usually through sexual intercourse. After an incubation period of 12-30 days, the first symptom is a chancre, followed by slight fever and other constitutional symptoms (primary syphilis), followed by a skin eruption of various appearances with mucous patches and generalized lymphadenopathy (secondary syphilis), and subsequently by the formation of gummas, cellular infiltration, and functional abnormalities usually resulting from cardiovascular and central nervous system lesions (tertiary syphilis).

Any person that engages in sexual activity can contract and pass on syphilis. This includes heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual men and women. The more sexual partners a person has, the greater the risk of catching syphilis. Syphilis also increases the risk of HIV infection, which causes AIDS. About 12 million new cases of syphilis occur every year. More than 90% of them are in developing nations where congenital syphilis remains a leading cause of stillbirths and newborn deaths. In North America and Western Europe, syphilis is disproportionately common and rising among men who have sex with men and among persons who use cocaine or other illicit drugs.

The name "syphilis" was coined by Hieronymus Fracastorius (Girolamo Fracastoro). Fracastorius on the temperature of wines, the rise of the Nile, poetry, the mind, and the soul; he was an astronomer, geographer, botanist, mathematician, philosopher and, last but not least in the present context, a physician.

In 1530 he published the poem "Syphilis sive morbus gallicus" (Syphilis or the French Disease) in which the name of the disease first appeared. Perhaps more importantly, Fracastorius went on in 1546 to write "On Contagion" ("De contagione et contagiosis morbis et curatione"), the first known discussion of the phenomenon of contagious infection: a landmark in the history of infectious disease.

What are the symptoms of Syphilis?

A symptom is something the patient senses and describes, while a sign is something other people, such as the doctor notice. For example, drowsiness may be a symptom while dilated pupils may be a sign.
Syphilis has three stages:

Primary syphilis
Secondary syphilis
Tertiary syphilis (the late phase of the illness)
Secondary syphilis, tertiary syphilis, and congenital syphilis are not seen as often in the United States as they were in the past because of the availability of:

Free, government-sponsored sexually transmitted disease clinics
Screening tests for syphilis
Public education about STDs
Prenatal screening
[caption id="attachment_964" align="alignleft" width="400"] Primary Syphillis[/caption]

Primary syphilis presents as a small painless open sore 3 to 6 weeks after exposure. Although the lesion heals within 6 to 8 weeks, the untreated organism will continue to multiply unchecked, causing many complications. Infection may last for 30 years or more and result in severe neurological complications.
Primary syphilis symptoms include:

Chancre -- a small, painless open sore or ulcer on the genitals, mouth, skin, or rectum that heals by itself in 3 - 6 weeks
Enlarged lymph nodes in the area containing the chancre
The bacteria continue to multiply in the body, but there are few symptoms until the second stage.

[caption id="attachment_970" align="alignleft" width="306"] Secondary Syphillis[/caption]

Secondary syphilis symptoms include:

A skin rash (the most common symptom), which often involves the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Sores called mucous patches may develop in or around the mouth, vagina, or penis.
Moist, warty patches may develop in the genitals or skin folds. These are called condylomata lata.
Other symptoms, such as fever, general ill feeling, loss of appetite, muscle aches, joint pain, enlarged lymph nodes, vision changes, and hair loss may occur.

Tertiary syphilis is a late stage of the disease which can follow the initial infection, primary syphilis, by several years(3-15). Pockets of damage accumulate in various tissues such as the bones, skin, nervous tissue, heart, and arteries. These lesions are called gummas and are very destructive.

[caption id="attachment_962" align="alignleft" width="274"] Congenital Syphillis[/caption]

Congenital Syphilis Definition

Congenital syphilis occurs when a baby is born already infected with the bacteria that cause Syphilis. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a type of bacteria called a spirochete. Syphilis is passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy. This is a potentially serious condition that requires care from your doctor. If untreated, a baby with congenital syphilis can have problems throughout life.

1 comment

  • Rafael

    27, 2010, 03:49) In England, there has been a 12% rise in STD’s STI’s call them what you will.That rise is in the 18-25 age group , in part, reflects bteter testing, reporting&recording procedures.The increase is focussed mainly in urban, inner city environments (London, Manchester, Liverpool etc.,) in pockets of deprived areas (Hackney, in London for example).Leading to the conclusion that?Ite2€™s a lack of sex education in the young&this goes right back to the classroom.But while many (ignorant) parents done2€™t want their kids taught about sex at school, they arene2€™t doing it at home either, leading to more ignorancee2€a6& a 12% increase in sexually transmitted disease!Ite2€™s also a worrying trend that a high proportion of these 18-25e2€™s have been treated TWICE in a 12 month period, so not only ignorant (or at best, unlucky!) the first time, the second time is just sheer bloody stupidity!So wee2€™re basically growing e2€˜em ever more stupid year on year!Why is this?If youe2€™re a parente2€a6you work it out!Again, a bit of perspective needs to be applied.Are you (in the UK, I done2€™t have worldwide figures) going to stop going to the dentist because of the seven reported cases of HIV transmission from dental work?Of course not.Are you going to get rid of all the tea spoons in the house because of the seven recorded deaths from tea spoons?Again, no.And are you going to refrain from driving absolutely everywhere, despite the sharp increase in uninsured drivers due to the financial crisis?Yet again, no.And are you gonna be lucky enough to have sex (any sort of sex!) with a variety of at risk 18-25 year olds?Theree2€™s that e2€˜noe2€™ answer again!Ite2€™s also a sad fact that the spread of sexually transmitted infections is highest in areas of sexual repression, where sex is seen as somehow e2€˜dirtye2€™&not something to be discussed by e2€˜nicee2€™ people.And the rapid popularity of e2€˜faithe2€™ based schools will have a dramatic impact on the sex education, or rather lack thereof, of the next crop of 18-25 year olds.Why is this?If youe2€™re a parente2€a6e2€a6..!The fact is, you can NEVER be sure. When does a e2€˜new partnere2€™ to always use protection with turn into a e2€˜significant othere2€™ when you done2€™t?When youe2€™ve done a thorough background check on all their previous sexual partners (assuming youe2€™ll actually be told the gospel truth!) AND all theirs too, etc?!Or when youe2€™ve whipped e2€˜em down the clinic for a quick test & a 3 month wait, all the while keeping your fingers crossed that you actually ARE the only one theye2€™ve been having sex with & that party they went to without you in the second week of you seeing them was as innocent as they say. Etc, Etc!See where I am with this?If your THAT scared, then abstain from sex.Or stock up on all over rubber suits & dental damse2€a6e2€a6e2€a6.& for fuck sake, mind those tea spoons, they can do you a nasty one!But done2€™t stay in bed, whatever you do, 34 people died from falling out of bed!Be a bit about yourself (unlike our 18-25 year old’s) but keep a little bit of perspective too .or get out of bed, give the tea spoon to a responsible adult to look after for you, & stop driving to the dentists at least, to minimise your risk of fatality!

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