What are the symptoms of syphilis?


Quick Answer

Because syphilis develops in stages, the symptoms vary based on how long it has been since the person was exposed to the infection. The first sign of syphilis is the development of a sore where the infection-causing bacteria entered the body, according to Mayo Clinic. If the sore is hidden inside the body, it is possible for a person with syphilis to remain unaware of the infection.

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What are the symptoms of syphilis?
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Full Answer

Planned Parenthood reports that new symptoms start appearing approximately three-to-six weeks after the first sore forms. In the secondary stage, a person with syphilis might experience fever, skin rashes, weight loss, sore throat, headaches and muscle pains. The skin rashes often appear on the soles of the feet or palms of the hands. If treatment is not sought, the infection moves into the latent stage.

Some people never have any additional symptoms, while others develop what is known as tertiary syphilis, according to Mayo Clinic. Tertiary syphilis, also called late syphilis, may cause serious damage. Known complications include damage to the brain, liver, blood vessels, kidneys, joints, heart and bones. These problems may occur years after the first sore forms. It is possible for a baby to develop syphilis if its mother is infected. Babies with congenital syphilis may have dental deformities or a condition called saddle nose. Deafness is also a potential complication of congenital syphilis.

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