Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. The most common initial symptom is a painless sore called a chancre (say "shanker") that develops on the genitals.

Syphilis can be easily cured with antibiotics. If syphilis is not treated, it can eventually lead to serious health problems, such as blindness or heart problems.

Last Updated: September 30, 2009

Author: Sandy Jocoy, RN

Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease

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