Syphilis is a sexually transmitted caused by bacteria. Unless treated, it can cause heart and brain damage, and lead to death. Pregnant women can pass the infection to their unborn babies.
Syphilis is spread by sexual contact with an infected person. Transmission can also occur through blood transfusion if the donor is in the early stages of the disease, or by sharing needles with an infected person. Symptoms are progressive, beginning with a painless rash or ulcer, headache, nausea, weight loss, progressing up to central nervous system damage, heart damage, and death if left untreated.
Information for the General Public
Information for Clinicians/Public Health Departments
- American Sexual Health Association
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
- Mayo Clinic
- MedLine Plus
- National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases