What are the common symptoms?
There are three different stages of syphilis and symptoms are similar for men and women.
Primary stage (10-90 days after contact):
- A painless sore (called a chancre) appears at the site of infection approximately 10-90 days after contact. The sore may appear on any part of the body, usually on the penis or vulva, but sometimes the sore will not be noticed, especially in women when the sore is inside the vagina.
Secondary stage (6-8 weeks after chancre):
- During this time, a person may develop non-itchy rash on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, the belly or the genitals. There may also be some flu-like symptoms. The symptoms in this stage will disappear in a few weeks even without treatment. However, this does not mean that the patient has recovered. In fact, the bacteria are still lurking inside the body.
- There may be no symptoms at all.
Tertiary stage (months to years):
- The bacteria continue to invade the brain, the spinal cord and the heart, causing blindness, paralysis and even death.
Disregard of the disease stage, improperly treated pregnant woman can transmit the disease to the unborn baby, leading to serious consequences.