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What are the symptoms of syphilis?

Syphilis symptoms have many stages

Primary syphilis:

  • Small painless sores at the place where the bacteria has entered the body (genitals, mouth, or rectum) These can take 10-90 days to appear and are healed on their own without any treatment.

  • However, lack of symptoms does not mean it is gone or need not be treated anymore.

  • They are highly infectious and can be transmitted to anyone exposed to the sores.

Secondary syphilis:

  • This stage appears a few weeks after the primary stage is healed. A rash begins which slowly spreads all over the body. This rash is usually not itchy and sometimes is accompanied by wart like sores in the mouth or genitals.

  • Other symptoms during this stage may involve hair loss, muscle aches, a fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms also disappear after a couple of weeks.

Latent syphilis :

  • This is a stage where the bacteria can stay in the body for years without showing any symptoms. This stage progresses to the tertiary syphilis stage.

Tertiary syphilis :

  • When syphilis is not treated in the previous stages it reaches the tertiary stage or the late stage. At this stage, the disease can damage the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints. This happens after 10-30 years of being exposed to the bacteria.


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