Syphilis Epidemiology. Thad Zajdowicz, MD, MPH Medical Director, STD/HIV Program Chicago Dept of Public Health. Why a lecture on syphilis? Although syphilis is an eminently treatable disease, its continuing occurrence illustrates that our control efforts still need to be
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Thad Zajdowicz, MD, MPH
Medical Director, STD/HIV Program
Chicago Dept of Public Health
Although syphilis is an eminently treatable
disease, its continuing occurrence illustrates
that our control efforts still need to be
improved. The disease remains elusive clinically
even today, and unless thought of and sought
for can silently cause disease as it has for
centuries. Further, control of syphilis is vital
because of its interactions with HIV. This lecture will focus on syphilis epidemiology; following lectures will explore the clinical manifestations of this most protean of diseases.
Syphilis is a chronic, systemic infection caused by a spirochete, Treponema pallidum. The primary mode of transmission is via sexual contact. Untreated, syphilis progresses through a primary and secondary stage before becoming latent. Up to 1/3 of people with untreated syphilis develop tertiary disease late in life, primarily cardiovascular and neurologic. Syphilis is also transmitted congenitally from an infected mother to her infant.
Primary and Secondary Syphilis --- United States, 2002
The following sites are useful if more
information on syphilis epidemiology is sought:
www.cdc.gov Centers for Disease Control
www.who.int World Health Organization
www.ashastd.org American Social Hygiene Assoc
www.vnh.org Virtual Naval Hospital