Syphilis

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Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the spirochetal bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission of syphilis is through sexual contact however it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth resulting in congenital syphilis.

The signs and symptoms of syphilis vary depending on which of the four stages it presents in (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary). The primary stage typically presents with a single chancre, secondary syphilis with a diffuse rash, latent with little to no symptoms, and tertiary with gummas, neurological, or cardiac symptoms. Diagnosis is usually via blood tests. It can be effectively treated with antibiotics, specifically intramuscular penicillin G.

Syphilis is believed to have infected 12 million people worldwide in 1999 with greater than 90% of cases in the developing world. Rates of infection have increased during the 2000s in many countries.

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