Syphilis can be a fatal infection. This is despite the fact that there are effective treatments available for it. The real danger in the incidence of this disease is the tendency for it to go unnoticed until it has done significant damage.
What is syphilis and how do you know whether you have it? We discuss these and other things you may want to know about the infection in this article.
Syphilis – What is it?
Syphilis is a contagious – very contagious – sexually transmitted infection (STI). People mostly get it through sexual contact and may not even be aware of its presence when they have it.
It is not exactly clear where syphilis came from, but it has been around for hundreds of years.
The first recorded outbreak was in Europe toward the end of the 15th century. This was after an invasion of Naples by French troops during the Italian War of 1494 to 1498. It was then called the “French disease” by the locals, who thought the occupying troops brought it along with them.
The term “syphilis” is credited to Italian physician Girolamo Fracastoro, who first used it in 1530.
Prior to 1943, there were no clinically confirmed treatments for the STI. Most deaths and unpleasant complications occurred before that year.
There are now efficacious therapies available for the disease. The treatments help the most when there is early detection.
Incidence and Deaths
Following the introduction of penicillin, cases of syphilis infection dropped considerably. Widespread antibiotics use caused the incidence to plunge especially in developed countries of the world.
However, a resurgence in cases of infection has been observed in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia since 2000. The spike is more noticeable among gay men.