Thursday, April 27, 2017

What is syphilis?

Syphilis was initially described in Europe in the latter part of the fifteenth century. Its origin remains shrouded in mystery. Syphilis is an infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum.

T. pallidum is a long, slender, coil-shaped organism that measures 6-15 μm in length but only 0.15 μm in width, a dimension below the resolution of light microscopy. The organism has regular spirals numbering 5-20 and is actively motile, using a rotational screw-like activity, flexion and back and-forth motion.
It invades the body through the mucous membranes of the genitals and if untreated leads to physical damage and mental problems. Syphilis is currently is of particular concern because it is believed to increase the transmission of HIV.

Syphilis is caused by unprotected sexual contact with an infected person. The first signs appear about three weeks after contact, but the interval (incubation period) may be as short as 10 days or as long as three months.

If syphilis remains untreated the disease may go into the latent stage. People at this point usually have no further signs or symptoms of disease. Syphilis like many sexually transmitted disease, can be prevented by practicing safe sex and using latex condoms properly and consistently.
What is syphilis?
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