Syphilis is an infectious disease which can infects the genitals, anus, lips and the mouth. The cause of the syphilis is the bacterium Treponema Pallidum.
It is passed from one person to another through the sexual contact or kissing. The bacterium Treponema Pallidum is transmitted by directly touching the infected area while having sexual intercourse, whether oral, anal or vaginal. A fetus can be also be infected with syphilis if the woman suffers from this disease during her pregnancy and this is a case called congenital syphilis. Clothes, swimming pools, tubs, door knobs or other infected objects ( such as knives, forks, spoons) cannot transmit this disease.
The symptoms can be similar to other sexually transmitted diseases and they occur after 10 to 90 days. In the first phase a small round sore, medically called a chancre, appear on the outer part of the genitals or in the rectal area or in the mouth. It can be visible from one to five weeks and if not treated the situation gets worse.
In the second phase a non-itchy rash affects the whole skin. Rashes occur on the hands, feet and throughout the whole body in the way of spots, warts on the groins, sores in the mouth, acne, dark circles and can resemble chicken pox. The rash lasts for a few weeks and is often accompanied by loss of appetite, headaches, swollen glands and feverish conditions.
If the disease has not been treated in the above-mentioned phase, it spreads to inner organs. The symptoms of this third phase can be noticeable years after the infection. Syphilis affects and damages heart, blood vessels, nerves, bones and other organs. It leads to blindness, paralysis, impotency, mental disorders, bone and joints pains, ulcers and even tumors, and blood blockage. The severe effects may lead to death.
Pregnant women with syphilis pass the disease to their babies. If a woman has not been treated or has been treated after the 34th week of pregnancy, there is a high chance that the baby to be infected. A baby may be born without any symptoms, but the symptoms appear after few weeks in the form of a small head, sores on the skin, aching bones, patches in the mouth, runny nose and in most cases if untreated, babies become mentally retarded. 12 % of babies die from syphilis.
Syphilis tests include blood tests and sores examinations under the microscope. It is advisable for pregnant women to do blood tests for syphilis. Even after the syphilis is cured, small traces of antibodies can be found in the blood.
Penicillin is the most important in the treatment of syphilis. Higher doses are needed in the case of syphilis lasting for more than a year. A newborn baby must be given a penicillin dose every day for 10 days. There are no other alternative methods for curing this disease.