Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease when it is transmitted sexually it is termed “venereal syphilis” but if it is transmitted through the placental from an infected mother to the fetus It is termed “congenital syphilis“. The disease is caused by a causative agent TREPONEMA PALLIDUM. General syphilis progresses in 3 stages only in the first two stages is the patient able to transmit the infection to others.
The primary stage develops after an incubation of 10-90 days and the initial symptom is a small painless reddened ulcer or chancre with a hard margin which develops at the genitals or at the infection sites.
During the primary stage the patient does not feel ill and chancre heals between 25-40 days and the contact with the chancre during sexual contact may result in disease transmission within 2-10 weeks after the primary stage. The disease may enter the second stage and this is characterized by highly variable skin rash,a generalized eruption appears on the skin and the patient may have LYMPHADENOPATHY (swollen lymph nodes) also there will be a vague feeling of body discomfort and a slight fever or headache and at this stage both the chancre and the rash lesions are infectious. A latent stage may last from 3 weeks – 3 month may intervene between secondary and tertiary stages.
During this period the disease is not normally infectious except for multiple transmissions from mother to fetus. After many years a fertility stage develops in about 40 percent of untreated individuals with secondary syphilis. The symptoms of this tertiary stages ranges from mild-severe,even when tertiary syphilis is mild patient usually have ‘5-10 years’ taken off their lifespan and may exhibit blindness, difficulty in hearing and other symptoms.
In the severe forms of tertiary syphilis BRAIN DAMAGE may occur giving rise to general paralysis of insanity, personality changes, headaches and delusions. Damage can occur at the spinal cord, the patient becomes uncoordinated and loss of reflexes, uncontrollable urination, loss of perception and sensation,impotency.
The treatment of syphilis is easily accomplished with a long acting PENNICILLING. However, the longer the disease progresses,the more difficult to cure!!!
Don’t leave any infection untreated, spread the message and not the disease!
Abimbola Ajibade is a Student of Federal University of Technology, Akure. In her third year now, she is studying Micro-biology. She loves writing and she is also a makeup artiste.