Syphilis : A Thin Spiral Organism Of The Treponema Species
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Syphilis Fact Sheet
• 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,…show more content… Regional lymphadenopathy is a common finding (McPhee, 2014). Secondary syphilis occurs six to eight weeks after the chancre heals. Secondary syphilis is characterized by parenchymal, constitutional, and mucocutaneous manifestations. The secondary lesions subside in two to six weeks, and the infection proceeds to enter the latent phase. During the latent phase, the infection is only detectable through serologic testing. Latent or tertiary Disease can be manifested as the gumma (a benign granulomatous lesion), cardiovascular syphilis (usually involving vasa vasorum of the ascending aorta causing an aneurysm), and symptomatic neurosyphilis (which can manifest as symptoms of meningitis) (Fauci, 2012).
2. Differential Diagnosis:
• Primary Syphilis: Sexually Transmitted Infections- Genital Herpes, scabies, Chancroid, and donovanosis. Noninfectous causes- trauma, squamous cell carcinoma, medication side effect, or psoriasis.
• Secondary Syphilis: skin disorders (Uphold, 2013).
3. Evaluation: o History: Question the patient about: Onset of symptoms, duration of symptoms, presence of chancre, any rash or skin condition, sexual history, symptoms of sexual partners, medical history, medications, drug and alcohol abuse, and allergies (Fauci, 2012).
• Physical Examination: o Primary Syphilis presents as a chancre, a single painless superficial ulcer with clean base and firm indurated margins appears at the