i. What causes the infections?
Syphilis is caused by Treponema pallidum, a spiral-shaped bacterium called a spirochete.
(to see the what this bacteria looks like, click here)
ii. How the transmission occurs?
Syphilis is passed from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore. Sores occur mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum. Sores also can occur on the lips and in the mouth. Transmission of the organism occurs during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. infected mothers with the disease can pass it to the babies they are carrying.
iii. What are the signs and symptoms?
There will be an appearence of a chancre, but there may be multiple chancre. The time between infection with syphilis and the start of the first symptom can range from 10 to 90 days (average 21 days). The chancre is usually firm, round, small, and painless. It appears at the spot where syphilis entered the body. The chancre lasts 3 to 6 weeks, and it heals without treatment. However, if adequate treatment is not administered, the infection progresses to the secondary stage.
Skin rashes fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches, and fatigue. This stage typically starts with the development of a rash on one or more areas of the body. The rash usually does not cause itching.It may appear as rough, red, or reddish brown spots both on the palms of the hands and the bottoms of the feet. However, rashes with a different appearance may occur on other parts of the body, sometimes resembling rashes caused by other diseases.
Late and Latent Stages
The latent stage of syphilis begins when primary and secondary symptoms disappear. Without treatment, the infected person will continue to have syphilis even though there are no signs or symptoms; infection remains in the body. This latent stage can last for years. Signs and symptoms of the late stage of syphilis include difficulty coordinating muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, and dementia.
iv. What is the treatment?
A single intramuscular injection of penicillin, an antibiotic, will cure a person who has had syphilis for less than a year. Additional doses are needed to treat someone who has had syphilis for longer than a year. For people who are allergic to penicillin, other antibiotics are available to treat syphilis. There are no home remedies or over-the-counter drugs that will cure syphilis. Treatment will kill the syphilis bacterium and prevent further damage, but it will not repair damage already done.
v. How can this infection be prevented?
Abstain from sexual contact or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be infected.
Avoiding alcohol and drug use because these activities may lead to risky sexual behavior.
use condoms lubricated with spermicide.
DONE BY: JING HENG