Syphilis is caused by bacteria that are transmitted through unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex. It can also be passed on from mother-to-child during pregnancy or childbirth. It causes sores on the genitals, mouth, vagina, or rectum. Syphilis can be cured with antibiotics.
For most cases, sores that don't hurt are the first symptom. Even if it isn't treated, the sore will go away, but the infection is still there. Next, a body rash may develop and you may feel like you have the flu. Even after the symptoms disappear, you still have Syphilis.
If you do not treat Syphilis, it can lead to damage to the heart, brain, or other organs. Untreated Syphilis can also cause death.
Sources: Integrated Public Health Information System [2006-2015], extracted July 17, 2015; Population Estimates, IntelliHealth, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care , extracted April 17, 2015.
Ontario data: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Integrated Public Health System database, extracted by Public Health Ontario [April 20, 2015].
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