Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Syphilis

1. nonvenereal, or endemic form of syphilis; see bejel.

2. common chronic, infectious congenital or sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a spirochete (Treponema pallidum pallidum); affects any tissue or vascular organ and may persist for years without symptoms. May also be contracted at a nosocomial source. Four progressive stages are recognized: primary (infection followed by an incubation period of 3-8 weeks), secondary (characterized by the eruption of chancres and lesions), latent (remission of symptoms but seropositivity is maintained), and late (formerly the tertiary; noninfectious stage that results in the reemergence of lesions, and irreversible organ damage that results in death). Skeletal manifestations involve signature modifications to the shin and tibia. May be a New World mutation of yaws. Aka venereal syphilis.

Cf. nonvenereal treponematoses.

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From "Dictionary of Nursing and Individual Health Care"