'The physician who knows syphilis knows medicine.' (Sir William Osler). Syphilis was known as the 'Great Imitator' as it was often confused with other diseases.
From the website: 'Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum.
It is passed from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore. Sores can occur on the external genitals, vagina, anus, rectum, lips and in the mouth. Transmission of the organism occurs during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Pregnant women with the disease can pass it to the babies.
The primary stage of syphilis is usually marked by the appearance of a single sore, or multiple sores. The time between infection with syphilis and the start of the first symptom can range from 10 to 90 days. The chancre is usually firm, round, small, and painless. It appears at the spot where syphilis entered the body. The chancre lasts 3 to 6 weeks, and it heals without treatment. However, if adequate treatment is not administered, the infection progresses to the secondary stage.
Skin rash and mucous membrane lesions characterize the secondary stage. This stage typically starts with the development of a rash on one or more areas of the body. The characteristic rash of secondary syphilis may appear as rough, red, or reddish brown spots both on the palms of the hands and the bottoms of the feet. In addition to rashes, symptoms of secondary syphilis may include fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches, and fatigue. The signs and symptoms of secondary syphilis will resolve with or without treatment, but without treatment, the infection will progress to the latent and possibly late stages of disease.
The latent (hidden) stage of syphilis begins when primary and secondary symptoms disappear. Without treatment, the infected person will continue to have syphilis even though there are no signs or symptoms; infection remains in the body. This latent stage can last for years. In the late stages of syphilis, the disease may subsequently damage the internal organs, including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints. Signs and symptoms of the late stage of syphilis include difficulty coordinating muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, and dementia. This damage may be serious enough to cause death.'
From the website: 'The discovery of penicillin in the 1940s and its use in treating syphilis led to a dramatic decline in the incidence of the disease. However, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the incidence of syphilis began to rise along with the incidence of HIV/AIDS. After a brief decline in cases in the late 1990s, incidence has again been on the rise during this decade.
The incidence of syphilis is highest among young adults. Rates of the disease have remained relatively steady for women, yet syphilis is on the rise in men who have sex with other men. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly two-thirds of new syphilis cases are occurring in men who have sex with men.'
From the website: 'While working at the Rockefeller Institute in 1913, Hideyo Noguchi, a Japanese scientist, demonstrated the presence of the spirochete Treponema pallidum in the brain of a progressive paralysis patient, proving that Treponema pallidum was the cause of the disease.
Prior to Noguchi's discovery, syphilis had been a burden to humanity in many lands, sometimes misdiagnosed and often misattributed to political enemies.
Some famous historical personages, including Franz Schubert, Charles VIII, Hernando Cortez of Spain, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Ivan the Terrible, have been alleged to have had syphilis. Guy de Maupassant and possibly Friedrich Nietzsche are thought to have been driven insane and ultimately killed by the disease.
Al Capone contracted syphilis as a young man. By the time he was incarcerated at Alcatraz, it reached its third stage, neurosyphilis, leaving him confused and disoriented. Artist Paul Gauguin and Howard Hughes are said to have suffered from syphilis and led to the death of artist Edouard Manet and poet Charles Baudelaire.'
Page Title: 'Male & Female Sexually Transmitted Diseases:
Syphilis. Symptoms, Pictures, Mind, History, Art, Literature'.
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Analyse any human emotion, no matter how far it may be removed from the sphere of sex, and you are sure to discover somewhere the primal impulse, to which life owes its perpetuation. ... The primitive stages can always be re-established; the primitive mind is, in the fullest meaning of the word, imperishable. ... Mans most disagreeable habits and idiosyncrasies, his deceit, his cowardice, his lack of reverence, are engendered by his incomplete adjustment to a complicated civilisation. It is the result of the conflict between our instincts and our culture. (Sigmund Freud)
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