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Syphilis - secondary

  • Definition

    Secondary syphilis is the second stage of the sexually transmitted disease syphilis. This stage is the most contagious.


    Alternative Names

    Secondary syphilis


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infectious disease caused by the spirochete Treponema pallidum. Syphilis has three main stages:

    • Primary syphilis
    • Secondary syphilis
    • Tertiary syphilis

    This article focuses on secondary syphilis.

    About a third of untreated individuals with primary syphilis will develop secondary syphilis. This usually occurs at about 2 to 8 weeks after the appearance of the original painless sore (chancre). Sometimes, the sore may still be present.

    In secondary syphilis, the bacteria has spread into the bloodstream.