Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the spirochete Treponema pallidum. It is transmissible by sexual contact, from mother to fetus, via blood transfusion, and occasionally by direct contact with infectious lesions. It has been a major public health problem both before the antibiotic era and now, with the increase of acquired immunodeficiency states and unprotected sex. The clinical manifestations of the disease can mimic many other infections and immune-mediated diseases; thus, it may be difficult to make early diagnosis. After the discovery of penicillin in the twentieth century, the spread of the disease has been largely controlled, but up to now, it has not been fully eradicated. In this chapter, overall information about the disease including the epidemiology, clinical presentation forms, pathophysiological mechanisms, and latest diagnostic and treatment approaches are reviewed.
Part of the book: Fundamentals of Sexually Transmitted Infections