Encyclopedia Home / S / Syphilitic myelopathy

Syphilitic myelopathy

  • Definition

    Syphilitic myelopathy is a complication of untreated syphilis that involves muscle weakness and abnormal sensations.

    Alternative Names

    Locomotor ataxia

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Syphilitic myelopathy is a form of neurosyphilis, which is a complication of late or tertiary syphilis infection. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted, infectious disease. For information on the disease, see: Syphilis.

    The condition called tabes dorsalis includes syphilitic myelopathy and other symptoms of nerve damage.

    The infection damages the spinal cord and peripheral nervous tissue.

    Syphilitic myelopathy is now very rare because syphilis is usually treated early in the disease. Blood tests can identify the disease in its silent (latent) form. People who donate blood and pregnant women are given these tests.