The signs and symptoms of secondary syphilis

Sex Transm Dis. Oct-Dec 1980;7(4):161-4. doi: 10.1097/00007435-198010000-00002.


The signs and symptoms of 105 patients with secondary syphilis were evaluated in a clinic for treatment of sexually transmissible diseases. The symptoms were, in order of decreasing frequency, pruritus, 44 patients; sore throat, 16; headache, nine; muscle aches, nine; fever, five; meningismus, three; loss of scalp hair, three; loss of appetite, two; loss of weight, two; and visual disturbances, one. The dominant morphologic characteristics of the lesions, in order of decreasing frequency, were maculopapular, 73 patients; papular, 13; macular, 10; annular papular, six; papulopustular, two; and psoriasiform papular, one. Almost a fourth of the patients were not aware that they had mucocutaneous lesions, and > 20% of patients had inconspicuous lesions. The distributions and morphologic features of the lesions of eight patients (7.6%) suggested other dermatoses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Fever / etiology
  • Headache / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / pathology
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pharyngitis / etiology
  • Pruritus / etiology
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Syphilis, Cutaneous / pathology*