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MEMF ยป Syphilis is a French disease that mimics the symptoms of other diseases at the onset

Syphilis is a French disease that mimics the symptoms of other diseases at the onset

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Syphilis is one of the most unpleasant diseases in modern sexual medicine. This is a sexually transmitted infection that most often picks up in the more active younger generation and in general in people with pronounced promiscuity in behavior. The disease develops after infection with a bacterium called pallidum spirochete.

In addition to syphilis, the bacterium can cause three more diseases in humans – yam or pretense, pint, and bejel. Syphilis can also be active in newborns and young children. With congenital syphilis, they say when, during pregnancy and the birth itself, the infection is transmitted from the mother to the child’s body. At the beginning of its discovery, the disease was called the “French disease” because of the supposed origin of the infection.

The disease proceeds in its activity without clinical symptoms for many years, therefore, to this day, the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases in the sexually more active generation with the help of regular examinations is of particular importance and this topic has become one of the most widely discussed at symposiums on sexual medicine. The disease itself can mimic the symptoms of many other diseases, so by far, the surest way to make a diagnosis is with a serological test.

The disease of syphilis has a very different clinical picture, depending on what phase it is in – primary, secondary, latent or tertiary. In the initial phase, a specific chancre appears.

This is a formation with a very hard surface, which, however, does not cause any pain or itching, but in practice looks like a typical ulcerative erosion.

The secondary form of syphilis is usually more dramatic and forces patients to seek medical attention. Symptoms at this stage usually include multiple rashes all over the body, including the palms and soles. In the latent stage, there may be a lull in the clinical picture, especially if the patients did not pay attention to alarming symptoms at that time. Usually, this stage is also fatal for them, since the body quickly passes into the tertiary phase of the disease, where the development of syphilitic gums begins, giving characteristic neurological and cardiac symptoms, due to the fact that they are deposited in the brain and the wall of the heart muscle.

What is the modern diagnosis of “French disease”?

Diagnostic clarification of the disease is extremely difficult, and therefore it is necessary to prepare for a number of laboratory tests. In today’s world, the easiest way is to use blood tests to confirm the disease. However, the problem is that this type of diagnosis very often gives false results, which makes it necessary to repeat them. It is also possible to observe biological material under a microscope, looking for syphilis bacteria.

Blood methods for testing and confirming a disease fall into two main groups. They are named after the bacterium that causes syphilis, treponema pallidum. In this logical order, studies are grouped into two groups – treponemal and non-treponemal.

Initially, non-treponemal tests are always used in the diagnostic process, which includes testing for several types of sexually transmitted diseases and a rapid test for reagin. Due to the increased number of false positive results for French disease, specialists are often forced to prescribe a specific treponemal diagnostic method. These are RPGA – the reaction of partial agglutination of pale treponema and FTA-At – the reaction of absorption immunofluorescence.

Non-treponemal methods often lead to errors, as they are especially susceptible to active viral infections at the time of the study – chicken pox, measles, tuberculosis, influenza, endocarditis, connective tissue diseases, and pregnancy.

The time it takes to confirm the diagnosis is a few days from the time the blood sample is taken, but it takes two to six weeks for the infection to fully develop after alleged intercourse. In the tertiary form, when neurosyphilis develops, the diagnosis is determined by the detection of leukocytopenia with lymphocytopenia and hyperproteinemia in a cerebrospinal fluid sample, given that the patient has already proven a sexually transmitted infection.

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