Syphilis is a type of sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacteria “Pallidum”. Its signs and symptoms vary based on stages (primary, secondary, latent and tertiary) and has infected 15 million people around the world. The rates of infection continue to increase as prostitution and casual sex remains prevalent in most countries.
Syphilis has a number of medical appearances that are classified into stages, depending on when they transpire in the person. It first appears as an infectious or acute disease but eventually goes away. In the medical context, there are THREE main stages of syphilis but not everyone goes through each stage. Between these stages are certain periods that are deemed latent or symptom-free.
Syphilis symptoms may re-emerge in a short period of time, but this will go away. In some cases, it can be supported as a non-contagious, chronic condition.
There are two separate groups of individuals carrying syphilis symptoms – those who are prone to the infection but can recover immediately and those who are not prone but cannot undergo treatment. But the common denominator of these groups is that they can get positive results during blood tests.
In 2006, Canadamade up the largest number of people with syphilis. Until now the number of syphilis-related cases continues to increase by 40% among men and women. In other countries, syphilis is the primary cause of disability and death. According to history, the disease was discovered by 18th-century Spanish explorers. Since its massive spread throughout Europe, syphilis became a condition associated with sexual practices. It was once known as “Venereal Disease” inGreece. There were no medical treatments for syphilis until penicillin was invented in 1945.
Mild fever, headache and fatigue are among the few common syphilis symptoms. The Pallidum can be transmitted to the brain resulting to meningitis. Some people infected with syphilis shows signs of jaundice and anemia which are classified under “secondary syphilis symptoms” and may last for up to three years. An individual carrying secondary syphilis is infectious as long as rashes are found in various body parts.
People who aren’t treated with secondary syphilis will have chances of developing chronic syphilis. Here, the Pallidum deeply enters the body and although it’s not infectious, the syphilis may likely recur decades after the last secondary stage treatment.
Majority of the symptoms of syphilis is a serious threat to the internal organs including bones, blood vessels, heart and brain. If it’s not treated immediately, the disease can cause death.
Complications of chronic syphilis include the following:
- Damages in the blood vessels from the eye, vital nerves and retina: Syphilis can cause a lot of damages in our eyes. If it’s not untreated carefully, it may trigger damages resulting to permanent blindness – and we don’t want this to happen!
- Damages in the heart (including its blood vessels): the disease can damage the body’s aorta walls, which serves as our main artery. This in turn results to aneurism.
- Damages in the brain resulting to movement disorders.