What is Syphilis?
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. There are four stages of the disease: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary also known as neurosyphilis.
How syphilis transmit?
You can get this disease in the following ways:-
1.Direct contact with a syphilis sore (usually found on the vagina, anus, rectum, in the mouth, or on the lips)
2.During vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected person
3. An infected mother can pass syphilis to her unborn child, which can result in serious complications or even death of the unborn child
You can’t catch syphilis from doorknobs, toilet seats, swimming pools, clothing, bathtubs, or silverware.
Signs and Symptoms Of Syphilis:-
The primary stage classically presents with a single chancre (a firm, painless, non-itchy skin ulceration) but there may be multiple sores.
In secondary syphilis, a diffuse rash occurs, which frequently involves the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. There may also be sores in the mouth or vagina.
In latent syphilis, which can last for years, there are few or no symptoms.
In tertiary syphilis, there are gummas (soft non-cancerous growths), neurological, or heart symptoms.
The first-choice treatment for uncomplicated syphilis remains a single dose of intramuscular benzathine benzylpenicillin. Doxycycline and tetracycline are alternative choices for those allergic to penicillin; due to the risk of birth defects, these are not recommended for pregnant women. Resistance to macrolides, rifampicin, and clindamycin is often present. Ceftriaxone, a third-generation cephalosporin antibiotic, may be as effective as penicillin-based treatment. It is recommended that a treated person avoid sex until the sores are healed.
For neurosyphilis, due to the poor penetration of benzylpenicillin into the central nervous system, those affected are recommended to be given large doses of intravenous penicillin for a minimum of 10 days. If a person is allergic, ceftriaxone may be used or penicillin desensitization attempted. Other late presentations may be treated with once-weekly intramuscular benzylpenicillin for three weeks. If allergic, as in the case of early disease, doxycycline or tetracycline may be used, albeit for a longer duration. Treatment at this stage limits further progression but has the only slight effect on damage which has already occurred.
One of the potential side effects of treatment is the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction. It frequently starts within one hour and lasts for 24 hours, with symptoms of fever, muscle pains, headache, and a fast heart rate. It is caused by cytokines released by the immune system in response to lipoproteins released from rupturing syphilis bacteria.
Penicillin is an effective treatment for syphilis in pregnancy but there is no agreement on which dose or way of giving it is most effective. More research is needed into how much antibiotic to give and when to give it.