Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Yaws

Contagious, nonvenereal, chronic, relapsing infection in humans characterized by systemic lesions; caused by a spirochete (Treponema palladium pertenue). Worldwide distribution; occurs in tropical regions in populations where overcrowding and poor sanitation prevail. Route of infection is through direct person-to-person contact and predominantly affects children. Early yaws includes primary and secondary stages and is characterized by the presence of contagious skin lesions. Late yaws includes the tertiary stage, when lesions are not contagious. Untreated patients progressively develop destructive lesions involving bone (especially the hands and feet), cartilage, skin, and soft tissue (disfiguring growths near the nose known as gangosa), similar to those seen in tertiary syphilis. In contrast to venereal syphilis, cardiovascular and neurological abnormalities almost never occur with yaws. Has been identified in New World skeletons dated to at least 6 kya. Aka framboesia, frambesia tropica, parangi, paru, buba, pian, bouba, endemic treponema, endemic treponematoses.

See nonvenereal treponematoses.

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