WHAT IS SYPHILIS?
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection caused by a spirochaete which can’t survive without its only host that is humans. This syphilis is also called as great pox. Syphilis is often called great imitator because its clinical symptoms and manifestations resembled to that of other diseases.
ETIOLOGY OF SYPHILIS:
Syphilis is a bacterial infection, starts with painless sore- typically on genitals, rectum or mouth. Syphillis spreads from person to person through skin, mucous membrane comes in contact with the sores.
The causative organism of syphilis is a spirochaete Treponema pallidum. It is an unicellular organism which is elongated and tightly coiled and undergoes reproduction for every 30 hours. Human being is the only natural host and the organism cannot survive outside the host.
MODE OF TRANSMISSION:
The disease syphilis usually transmitted by having sexual contact with an infected person. The disease can also get transmitted by administration of fresh human blood, by kissing or touching active lessions of infected person. The syphilis bacteria is so fragile that the disease can be acquired by sharing food or utensils of infected person or from using tubs, pools.
SYMPTOMS OF SYPHILIS:
Syphilis develops in stages and symptoms will vary in each stage.
TYPES OF SYPHILIS:
Syphilis is of two types:
- Acquired syphilis
- Congenital syphilis
- ACQUIRED SYPHILIS: Generally adults and elderly persons get this disease through sexual intercourse whereas in children this disease spreads congenital during pregnancy if mother is having syphilis then it gets transmitted to the foetus.
The patient having syphilis passes through three stages:
- Early syphilis or primary stage
- Secondary syphilis
- Tertiary syphilis
EARLY OR PRIMARY SYPHILIS:
During this stage a hard sores appear on genitals in 2-6 weeeks time. This sore is hard, almost painless ,without itching and there is no discharge. It heals up itself healing behind a scar.
This stage appears 6 weeks to 6 months after the infection. During this stage, there is enlargement of glands, headache, sore throat and low irregular fever. Loss of voice and loss of hair are also observed.
This stage may appear after 5years of infection .It affects almost all organs of the body. During this stage, lessions appear almost anywhere but the skin, bones, tongue, testes, liver, heart and CNS are affected more.
Gumma a chronic granulomatous lesions in internal organs appear which is not painful and tender.
B) CONGENITAL SYPHILIS:
Congenital syphilis occurs from birth because the infection is passed from the mother to the foetus through placenta. In congenital syphilis mother doesn’t conceive, if pregnancy occurs after repeated abortions there may be still birth of two or three children in third, sixth and seventh months of pregnancy respectively. If 3rd or 4th child is born alive he may be defective child both physically and mentally.
Incubation period varies from 10 days to 10 weeks average is 3 weeks.
COMPLICATIONS FOR SYPHILIS:
Without treatment ,syphilis lead to damage all over the body, syphilis also increase the risk of HIV infection. treatment helps to prevent future damage but can’t repair or reverse the damage occurred by the syphilis.
- Small bumps or tumors
- Neurological problems: Meningitis, hearing loss, visual problems, bladder incontinence, loss of pain and temperature sensation, dementia
- Cardiovascular problems
- HIV infection
DIAGNOSIS OF SYPHILIS:
Diagnosis of syphilis is a cumbersome process because signs and symptoms vary with each stage demanding unique requirements. Diagnosis of syphilis is mainly divided into three categories depending on the stage of infection and symptoms. Cerebrospinal fluid sample is collected through lumbar puncture and is tested.
PREVENTION AND IMMUNIZATION OF SYPHILIS:
- Avoiding sexual contact with an infected person
- Direct contact of body fluids of infected person should be avoided
- Transfusion of blood from infected person, touching active lesions of infected person should be avoided
- Sharing of tubs, pools, toilets must be avoided
- Proper use of condoms during intercourse minimizes the risk of acquiring syphilis
- Risk of infected mother to pass the disease to unborn baby during pregnancy is high. Hence all pregnant women are advised to be tested for syphilis during pregnancy
- Currently there is no immunization measures against the occurrence of the disease
Thanks for Reading………. “BE HEALTHY”
M KEERTHI KUMARI