Syphilis is another sexually transmitted disease. It can be transmitted from an infected sex organ to an open cut in the skin of another person. It usually penetrates the moist mucous membranes of the mouth, the vagina, and the penis urethra, through which urine passes from the bladder to the outside.
If Syphilis if not treated, it can occur in three stages. The symptoms are slow to appear usually 10 -90 days after exposure.
The first stage can occur any time between two to four weeks after infection has occurred. A painless ulcer develops at this site most of the time. The ulcer starts as a red spot, turns into a pimple, which ulcerates, forming a sore. The ulcer is usually found on the genitals or anus, but can appear on any part of the skin, including the mouth. It usually heals in 4-6 weeks, leaving a thin scar. During this period the bacterium is circulating in the blood throughout the body.
The second stage appears one to six months after the ulcer heals, you feel generally ill, you have a fever and a headache and lose your appetite. The glands in your neck, armpit and groin may swell. Most people develop a skin rash that does not itch. The spots appear on the palms of the hands and the bottom of the feet.
The symptoms usually last three to six months. There is what you call a latent period where there are no apparent symptoms, and the carrier is no longer contagious. However, the organism is working itself into the host’s tissues. There are 50 to 70 percent of the carriers that can live the rest of their lives in this stage, without passing into the syphilis stage.
The last stage is the serious stage. It flares up without warning. It can cause heart problems, eye problems, brain and spinal cord damage, with a high probability of paralysis, insanity, blindness or death.
Treatment is by penicillin injection, or a two-week regimen of tetracycline, which is the standard treatment for syphilis. All stages of syphilis are treatable and can be stopped.
The most common form of transmission is through sexual intercourse. Syphilis can also be acquired by blood transfusion or from passed from an infected mother to her fetus.
The disease is detected by a blood test.