• Definition

    Neurosyphilis is an infection of the brain or spinal cord. It usually occurs in persons who have had untreated syphilis for many years.

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Neurosyphilis is caused by Treponema pallidum, the bacteria that cause syphilis. It usually occurs about 10 - 20 years after a person is first infected with syphilis. Not everyone who has syphilis will develop this complication.

    There are four different forms of neurosyphilis:

    • Asymptomatic (most common form)
    • General paresis
    • Meningovascular
    • Tabes dorsalis

    Asymptomatic neurosyphilis occurs before symptomatic syphilis.