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Symptoms and Signs of Syphilis

Doctor's Notes on Syphilis

Syphilis is a sexually-transmitted infection or sexually-transmitted disease (STD). It is caused by infection with the bacterium Treponema pallidum. The infection is spread by any type of sexual contact and occurs in both men and women.

Signs and symptoms of early syphilis include sores or rash in the mouth, vagina, or anus. The sores are firm, rounded, and do not cause pain. Itching is usually not present. Associated symptoms of the second stage of syphilis include fever, enlarged lymph nodes, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, weight loss, and headache. If the disease is not treated it can progress to a late stage that can persist for years. Late-stage symptoms include dementia, gradual blindness, paralysis, and damage to multiple internal organs.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.