Syphilis : A Thin Spiral Organism Of The Treponema Species

1490 WordsJan 28, 20156 Pages
Syphilis Fact Sheet Karyanne Castle 1. Etiology/Pathophysiology/Incidence/Prevalence: • Etiology: Syphilis is an infectious disease caused by T. Pallidum, a thin spiral organism of the Treponema species of spirochaetales. Syphilis is almost always caused by sexual contact with infected lesions, but can rarely be spread through nonsexual personal contact, infection in-utero, blood transfusion, or organ transplantation. • Incidence/Prevalence: The invention of penicillin has drastically decreased the annually reported cases in the United States. From 1943 to 2000, the number of cases declined nearly 95% (Fauci, 2012). However, since 2000, the number of cases reported has increased from <6,000 to 56,471 in 2013 (Syphilis, 2014). Globally, syphilis remains a major health concern, with nearly 12 million new cases per year. Those at highest risk for transmission include men who have sex with men (nearly 72% of reported cases), and heterosexual African Americans in urban areas. • Pathophysiology: T. Pallidum rapidly penetrates intact membranes or microscopic abrasions in the skin. Within hours, the spirochete penetrates the lymphatic system and blood stream, leading to systemic infection. The incubation period can last up to six weeks and precedes the appearance of primary lesions. The primary lesion occurs at the site of inoculation and persists four to six weeks prior to healing (Fauci, 2012). The primary lesion is called the Chancre. The Chancre is present for three

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