Enferm Infecc Microbiol Clin (Engl Ed). 2019 Jun-Jul;37(6):398-404. doi: 10.1016/j.eimc.2018.12.009. Epub 2019 Feb 7.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Syphilis is an infectious disease caused by the spirochaete Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum which is transmitted by sexual contact or vertical transmission during pregnancy. The incidence of syphilis has increased in the last years, mainly among men who have sex with men. Without treatment, the disease develops into different clinical stages, being able to present cardiovascular or irreversible neurological complications after a number of years. The disease is classified as early syphilis - primary, secondary and early latent syphilis (less than 12 months) - which is contagious, and as late syphilis - late latent and tertiary syphilis- which is rarely contagious. Diagnosis and management are often a challenge because of its diversity of manifestations and the difficulty of interpretation of serological tests. The treatment of syphilis is based on penicillin or doxycycline in allergic patients. Treatment failure because of resistance has been described with azithromycin. The follow up with a serological test is recommended in all patients with syphilis in order to ascertain cure after the treatment and to diagnose possible reinfections.

Keywords: Neurosyphilis; Neurosífilis; Syphilis; Sífilis; Treponema pallidum.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Syphilis* / diagnosis
  • Syphilis* / drug therapy