Essay by Z3r0High School, 12th gradeA, December 2003

download word file, 2 pages 3.5

Syphilis is a serious sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the

bacterial Treponema pallidum. It is often been referred to as "the great

imitator" because so many of the signs and symptoms are similar to those of

other diseases. The time between infection with syphilis and the start of the

first symptom can range from 10-90 days. Stages of syphilis are very distinct

they include primary syphilis, secondary syphilis, latent syphilis, and late


The primary stage of syphilis is marked by the appearance of a single

sore known as a chancre, however there might be multiple sores. It appears

at the spot where syphilis enters the body, which may be a place where it is

not noticeable. The chancre is often firm, round, small, and painless. In 3-6

weeks, the chancre will heal by itself. If it remains untreated, the infection

progresses to the secondary stage.

The secondary stage of syphilis begins once one or more areas of the

skin breaks into an itch less rash.

This rash appears rough and can be a

reddish or brown spot, which is usually located on the palms or on the soles

of the feet. The rash can spread to other parts of the body, with

characteristics resembling other diseases. Like a chancre in the primary stage

of syphilis, these rashes, even without treatment will clear up on their own.

A fever, sore throat, headaches, joint pains, poor appetite, weight loss, and

hair loss accompanies this rash.

In the latent or hidden stage of syphilis, symptoms may disappear for

years. Most people have no symptoms in this stage, but a few may develop

painful lesions called gummas in bones, skin, nervous tissue, and the heart.

During this stage the bacteria begins attacking internal parts of the body,

including the brain, nerves,