Syphilis is a highly contagious disease spread primarily by sexual activity, including oral and anal femininity caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. Occasionally, the disease can be passed to another person through prolonged kissing or close bodily contact. Although this disease is spread from sores, the vast majority of those sores go unrecognized. The infected person is often unaware of the disease and unknowingly passes it on to his or her sexual partner.
Most people don't notice the early symptoms of syphilis. Without treatment, it can lead to paralysis, blindness, and death. Syphilis can be cured with antibiotics.
The first sign is usually a firm, round, painless sore on the genitals. The disease spreads through direct contact with this sore. Later there may be a rash on the soles, palms, or other parts of the body (seen here), as well as swollen glands, fever, hair loss, or fatigue. In the late stage, symptoms come from damage to organs such as the heart, brain, liver, nerves, and eyes.
This serious infection can cause long-term health problems like arthritis, brain damage, and blindness -- unless it is treated.
Pregnant women with the disease can spread it to their baby. This disease, called congenital syphilis, can cause abnormalities or even death to the child.
Syphilis cannot be spread by toilet seats, door knobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, bath tubs, shared clothing, or eating utensils.
If you've been infected with syphilis for less than a year, a single dose of penicillin is usually enough to destroy the infection. For those allergic to penicillin, tetracyclineor doxycycline can be given instead. If you are in a later stage of disease, more doses will be needed.
People who are being treated for syphilis must abstain from sexual contact until the infection is completely gone. Sexual partners of people with syphilis should be tested and, if necessary, treated.
If not treated immediately, an infected baby may be born without symptoms but could develop them within a few weeks. These signs and symptoms can be very serious. Untreated babies may become developmentally delayed, have seizures, or die.
Avoid intimate contact with a person you know is infected, If you do not know if a sexual partner is infected, use a condom in every sexual encounter.
Syphilis is a curable disease with prompt diagnosis and treatment. However, if treated too late, there may be permanent damage to the heart and brain even after the infection is destroyed.