Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease found worldwide.
Syphilis occurs worldwide, mostly in large cities. The disease is extremely common in areas of dry, hot climates. Also, it is common in areas of poor economic status, education, and personal hygiene. The condition is prevalent in parts of Africa (e.g., Sudan, Southern Rhodesia, South Africa), parts of the Middle East (e.g., Nomadic/Bedouin tribes of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Syria), and parts of Asia (e.g., Turkey, Southeast Asia, the Western Pacific) and India.
T. pallidum inhabits the genital tract of infected males and females.
T. pallidum is a strict human pathogen and does not naturallyoccur in any animal species. Humans are the only natural hosts. Infected human hosts secreting T. pallidum in serous tran-sudates from moist lesions, such as primary chancre, condy-loma latum, mucous patch, etc., are the sources of infection. Transmission of syphilis occurs:
· Primarily through sexual contact by inoculation of the spirochetes through mucosal membranes and abrasions on epithelial surfaces.
· By vertical transmission transplacentally. Vertical transmis-sion of early syphilis during pregnancy results in a congeni-tal infection in at least 50–80% of exposed neonates.
· By transfusion of T. pallidum-contaminated blood.
Unprotected sex, promiscuous sex, and intravenous drug use are the major risk factors for syphilis. Doctors, nursing staff, and other healthcare workers are at occupational risk.
Syphilis in persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is a problem increasingly recognized recently. Concomitant HIV and syphilis are common. Serological tests for syphilis may be modified by the presence of HIV, usu-ally resulting in extremely high antibody titers, which do not decrease in response to adequate treatment.