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Serologic Testing for Syphilis


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Syphilis — The "Great Imitator"

Slide 3

April 2011

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the spirochete bacterium, Treponema pallidum. You can see the cork-screw shaped, brown-staining organisms in the image on the bottom-right-hand side of your screen. Syphilis is often-times referred to as the Great Imitator, due to the fact that the clinical signs and symptoms are often indistinguishable from other diseases. During the primary stage of the disease, patients may present with a sore, or chancre, typically located at the site of infection. Patients may then show symptoms of rash, fever and general malaise during the secondary stage of disease, and if left untreated, the infection may result in organ damage, paralysis, or mental status changes in the late or latent phase of the illness.

Syphilis — The "Great Imitator"


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