Syphilis Assignment Discussion Paper
Syphilis Assignment Discussion Paper
Syphilis remains a globally well-known infectious disease with approximately 10-12 million new infections annually according to the World Health Organization. It has in the recent past decades re-emerged as a significant disease of public significance in the United States since early infections often result in significant morbidity. Besides, research has also indicated that infection with syphilis facilitates HIV transmission (Nyatsanza & Tipple, 2016). Among infants, congenital syphilis is still among the leading causes of childhood mortalities, morbidities, and stillbirths. As a sexually transmitted illness that is only present among humans, syphilis is caused by Treponema pallidum, which is a spirochete. It presents with a wide range of symptoms and this is what makes it difficult to make a diagnosis based on a patient’s clinical presentation (Nyatsanza & Tipple, 2016). Syphilis Assignment Discussion Paper
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This paper discusses the signs, symptoms and diagnostic tests of Syphilis. A description of the treatment, patient education, prevention and follow-up care that should be given to patients will also be discussed. This knowledge is important in clinical practice as it promotes the ability to make a definite diagnosis and institute proper management for a patient’s full recovery.
Signs, Symptoms and Diagnostic Tests
The classic signs and symptoms of syphilis may present in either the primary, secondary or latent stage. In the primary stage, the major sign is a small chancre which presents at the bacteria’s entry point and this may happen approximately 3weeks after being exposed to the bacteria. The chancre is usually painless and gradually heals on its own in 3-6 weeks. Afterward, patients will report experiencing a rash over the trunk, soles of the feet and palms of the hand (Nyatsanza & Tipple, 2016). The rash is rarely itchy and can be accompanied by sores over the genitals and the mouth. Other patients may experience hair loss, a fever, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches and a sore throat, which is the secondary stage. If treatment is not initiated, a patient moves to the latent phase where patients present with no symptoms and lasts for several years then the tertiary phase where vital organs such as the brain, liver, kidneys, and blood vessels are affected.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the diagnostic standard for syphilis is observing a patient’s clinical features and undertaking blood serological tests. A more accurate diagnosis can be made using at least a non-treponemal antigen test and a treponemal antigen test. For the former, either a VDRL (Venereal Disease Research Laboratory) of RPR (Rapid Plasma Reagin) are highly recommended (Morshed & Singh, 2015). However, in most clinical scenarios, non-treponemal tests are used to assess a patient’s response to treatment but may also be used for diagnosis. For the latter, either a TPHA (Treponema pallidum haemagglutination test) or a TPPA (Treponema Pallidum Particle Agglutination Test) is highly recommended (Morshed & Singh, 2015). Syphilis Assignment Discussion Paper
Treatment, Patient Education, Prevention and Follow-Up Care
According to Stamm (2015), syphilis is best treated using Benzathine penicillin G which is administered intramuscularly. The duration of treatment, however, depends on the stage that a patient presents in. For instance, in the primary and secondary stage, a monthly injection is enough to get cured. However, in tertiary syphilis, multiple injections may be administered on weekly intervals. During treatment, patients should be educated to avoid any sexual contact until the completion of treatment and a final blood test is done to confirm that the disease has totally been cured (Stamm, 2015). Alternative prevention measures that patients should be informed of include: abstaining from sex, maintaining a single sex partner and having regular screening, having protected sexual intercourse and avoiding the use of drugs which potentially influence a person to engage in unsafe sex. Patients should also be informed that once cured, it is still possible to contract the disease again.
Morshed, M. G., & Singh, A. E. (2015). Recent trends in the serologic diagnosis of syphilis. Clin. Vaccine Immunol., 22(2), 137-147.
Nyatsanza, F., & Tipple, C. (2016). Syphilis: presentations in general medicine. Clinical Medicine, 16(2), 184-188.
Stamm, L. V. (2015). Syphilis: antibiotic treatment and resistance. Epidemiology & Infection, 143(8), 1567-1574. Syphilis Assignment Discussion Paper