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October 2001

The Changing Face of Syphilis: From Mimic to Disguise

Arch Dermatol. 2001;137(10):1373-1374. doi:

We read with interest the study of syphilis incognito by Stratigos et al.1 The authors present interesting data of a changing pattern in the manifestation of syphilis in Greece. We would like to share information based on data collected over a 5-year period at the sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) clinic of our center.

In India, besides screening patients with STDs for syphilis, we also use the venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL) test to screen pregnant women, under appropriate circumstances. Recently, latent syphilis (early or late) is being diagnosed more frequently than primary, secondary, or tertiary forms. Among 266 patients attending our STDs clinic, 40 had syphilis, an incidence of 15.04%. Among these 40 patients, 27 (67.5 %) had latent syphilis, most (16 [59.3%]) of unknown duration and all diagnosed only at prenatal screening. Most of these women's sexual partners were also infected.

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