Infectious agent: Treponema Pallidum
Description of illness: Syphilis is a systemic bacterial STD that can
infect both men and women. Syphilis is spread from person to person during
sexual contact and from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy.
Syphilis is divided in to stages (primary, secondary, latent, tertiary) and
symptoms depend on the stage of infection. Primary syphilis symptoms include a
sore that appears at the original site of infection. Secondary syphilis
symptoms include a skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, and fever. The latent stage
is a period of time when there are no symptoms. Tertiary syphilis is rare,
occurs in some individuals with untreated infection and is associated with
severe complications. Syphilis is
treatable with an antibiotic but damage that has been done is irreversible. Without
treatment syphilis will progress from one stage to the next and can rarely lead
to death. All pregnant women, men who have sex with men, those living with HIV,
and anyone with a partner diagnosed with syphilis should be screened.