a sexually transmitted infectious disease caused by
the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum. Stages of syphilis are primary
(a nonpainful chancre in the mouth or anogenital area), secondary (a generalized
rash, including the palms and soles, which occurs several weeks to a year
later), a dormant stage in which the spirochetes remain in the body without
causing symptoms, and tertiary (which may affect many organs including
the brain, leading to dementia [neurosyphilis] and death). In immunocompromised
persons, syphilis may be progress more rapidly and be resistant to treatment.
Penicillin is the usual treatment.
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