According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 55,000 new diagnoses every year in America. The majority of these infections are in the advanced stages.
Fatality is a possibility if an infection goes untreated for too long.
There has been a considerable decline in syphilis-related deaths since 1990. Yet, roughly 107,000 people died as a result of the disease in 2015.
Causes and Risk Factors
Syphilis results when the bacterium Treponema pallidum gets into the body. This pallidum subspecies features Gram-negative organisms that are spiral-shaped and very mobile. These cannot survive beyond a few days outside the body of a host.
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The bacteria find their way into the body of a host via a cut or through the mucous membranes. Hence, most people get them mostly through sexual contact – vaginal, anal, or even oral.
An infection can develop when you kiss an area near a lesion of an affected person. Also, a pregnant mother can transmit the bacteria to her unborn child.
A person is more likely to contract the infection in cases of:
- unprotected sex
- multiple sexual partners
- a man having sex with another man
- human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
With the screening of blood for transfusion these days, the risk of transmission by blood products is lower. There is also limited evidence that the STI can spread through needle sharing.
Experts say it is highly unlikely for you to become infected by sharing toilet seats, clothing, or eating utensils with an infected person. The bacteria die rapidly when outside the body.