Syphilis is an infection that is transmitted through direct exposure with aperson who has thedisease, in most cases duringthe process of sexual act. Syphilis is considered to be oneof themosthazardous sexually transmitteddiseases (STDs). The quantity of people suffering from syphilis in the United States considerably reduced between the mid 1940s and 2000 (from 100,000 cases to nearly 6,000). Notwithstanding, CDC reports, that approximately 55,400 people in the United States receive syphilis infections every year. Syphilis is a consequence of bacterial infection of the genital tract by the bacterium Treponema pallidum (Communicable Disease Management Protocol, 2007).
Transfer of the disease typically happens during the process of anal, oral or vaginal sex. Treponema pallidum goes from one to another by means of direct exposure with the chancre (so called open sore) which becomes visible during the primary stage, mucous membrane at the secondary stage and in rare cases at the latent period. Sores mostly appear on the exterior genitals, anus, rectum, or vagina (Communicable Disease Management Protocol, 2007). Additionally, sores can appear on the lips or around the mouth. Treponema pallidum usually gets into the body by means of mucous membranes, which locate around the genitals and urinary system.
Sometimes, syphilis can be transmitted to another person by virtue of protracted kissing or tight bodily exposure. In spite of the fact that this disease is dispersed from wounds, the great amount of those wounds goes unacknowledged. Often the contaminated person is unsuspecting about the illness and unconsciously transfers it to his or her sexual partner. Even more, sometimes it can happen that syphilis gets into the body through apertures in the skin, for example through cuts or scratches. Syphilis can also be a result of doctor’s carelessness, for instance, when they utilize already used by an infectious person needle (McKesson Health Solutions LLC, 2004). Blood transfusion is another reason that often becomes unavoidable in bacteria transmitting. Though, the last reason of contamination is considered to be very rare, since all donor blood in the United States and Canada is examined for some sexually transmitted infections (STIs). A woman carrying a child suffering from syphilis can transmit the bacteria through the placenta and spread the disease to her baby either during the pregnancy or delivery.
Thefirst symptom of syphilis is traditionally asore,or in other words, chancre, which is pain-free andoccurson or around thegenitals; however it can appearsomewhereelse, such as mouth or anus (McKesson Health Solutions LLC, 2004). Itmay go together with the swollen glands, which progressduring a week after the initial sore started. When thesoreappears, a person is saidtoreach the primary stage of syphilis. Thesoremay vanishby itself within1to 5 weeks, evenwithoutmedical treatment, however the disease remains in thebody.
The secondary stage of syphilis initiates nearly 7weeks afterthesorefirstoccurred. Themost widespread sign inthis stage is arash that shows upon anypartof thebody:hips, soles, arms, legs, palms, etc. There considered to be othersigns includingexhaustion, headache, loss of appetite, fever, sore throat, hoarseness, andswollen glands. These symptoms continue during 2to6weeks, andusually vanish even if there was no treatment received (Kennard, 2012).
The period which precedes the secondary stage is called latent, which is difficult to detect while there is no obvious symptoms of the disease. This stage is very dangerous because the patient cannot get any treatment until the late period of syphilis starts. The late period comes in cases when the disease is not treated for a long period of time. As a result, several complications concerning skin, central nervous system, heart or bones may arise. Consequently, these complications trigger different kinds of disability or even death (Kennard, 2012). That is why it is pivotal to give a proper treatment during the primary stage in order to avoid the appearance of later stages.
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Syphilis can betreatedby means of certain antibiotics including penicillin, doxycycline or tetracycline that need to be prescribedby adoctor.To avoid getting infected, one must remember some rules, such as limitingthenumberof sexual partners that considerablydecrease thepossibility of beingcontaminated. Moreover, one must also remember usingcondoms accurately with all partners that will also reducethechances of becominginfected.