Secondary stage continued...
The skin rash usually heals within 2 months on its
own without scarring. After healing, skin discoloration may occur. But even though the skin rash has healed, syphilis is still present and a person can still pass the infection to others.
When syphilis has
spread throughout the body, the person may have:
- A fever of usually less than
101 °F (38.3 °C).
- A vague feeling of weakness or discomfort throughout
- Patchy hair loss, especially in
the eyebrows, eyelashes, and scalp hair.
- Swelling of the lymph
Nervous system symptoms of
secondary syphilis, which can include neck stiffness, headaches, irritability,
paralysis, unequal reflexes, and irregular pupils.
Latent (hidden) stage
If untreated, an infected
person will progress to the latent (hidden) stage of syphilis. The latent stage
is defined as the year after a person becomes infected. After the
secondary-stage rash goes away, the person will not have any symptoms for a
time (latent period). The latent period may be as brief as 1 year or range from
5 to 20 years.
Often during this stage, an accurate diagnosis can
only be made through blood testing, the person's history, or the birth of a
A person is
contagious during the early part of the latent stage and may be contagious
during the latent period when no symptoms are present.
About 20 to 30 out of 100 people with syphilis
relapse of the infection during its latent
stage.1 A relapse means the person was
symptom-free but then started having symptoms again. Relapses can occur
When relapses no longer occur, a person is not
contagious through contact. But a woman in the latent stage of syphilis may
still pass the infection to her developing baby and may have a miscarriage or a
stillbirth or give birth to a baby infected with congenital syphilis.
Tertiary (late) stage
This is the most destructive
stage of syphilis. If untreated, the tertiary stage may begin as early as 1
year after infection or at any time during a person's lifetime. A person with
syphilis may never experience this stage of the illness.
this stage, syphilis may cause serious blood vessel and heart problems, mental
disorders, blindness, nerve system problems, and even death. The symptoms of
tertiary (late) syphilis depend on the complications that develop.
Complications of this stage include: