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The most serious disease (until AIDS appeared). The causative agent, pale treponema, or pale spirochete, was discovered in 1905, “Pale”, because it is almost not stained with ordinary aniline dyes, which are accepted for this purpose in microbiology. Pale treponema has a spiral shape resembling a long thin corkscrew. It is extremely insidious: under adverse conditions it is covered with a dense shell and becomes impermeable to drugs. In this form, it can persist in the body for a long time, until at a favorable moment it again “comes to life”, causing the progression of the disease, which was considered cured. The spiral-shaped forms of treponema multiply by division every 30-33 hours, the "frozen" do not divide. In the initial stages of syphilis, the body is almost exclusively spiral-shaped, in the later and with latent syphilis, there are more and more capsule ones. Penicillin used in the treatment of syphilis acts only on the spiral forms of treponema, so the effectiveness of the drugs is maximum in the first months of the disease.
Treponema requires a warm, moist - living biological environment. Therefore, infection occurs almost exclusively through sexual contact. In the household way it is transmitted mainly to small children, whose parents, having infectious manifestations on the mucous membrane of the mouth, try food from the baby’s spoon, sometimes even chew it for him, lick the nipple, etc. Pale treponema persists, for example, on wet underwear for many hours and even several days. Drying or exposure to disinfectants quickly deprives it of mobility.
The optimal conditions for its life are the human body temperature (37 ± C). When heated to 55 ± C, microorganisms die after 15 minutes, when boiled - immediately. Lower temperature, on the contrary, contributes to their survival. At -46 ± C, there are about 3 days, at -18 ± For about a year, long enough, within 2 days, mobile treponemas are preserved in the tissues of the dead.
Pale treponema can be found in the blood of people, even those in the incubation period. If such blood is transfused to a healthy one for some reason, then infection will occur and the so-called "transfusion" syphilis will occur. Therefore, donor blood must be tested for syphilis, canned, kept for 4 days, which guarantees the death of bacteria. If by chance, in an emergency, with direct transfusion, blood was taken from a patient with syphilis, then the person who received it is given preventive treatment. A 0.5% solution of caustic alkali, as well as acid solutions, are detrimental to pale treponema. Urine with a pronounced acid reaction, as well as some foods - sour milk, kvass, vinegar and even lemonade can destroy the pathogen. Immediately he dies in soapy foam, and therefore washing hands with soap reliably protects against infection.
The penetration of the causative agent of syphilis into the human body occurs through little - or even invisible to the naked eye wounds on the skin and mucous membranes. It is even believed that it can pass through intact integuments. If a pregnant woman is sick with syphilis, then the child becomes infected in utero. The likelihood of this is greatest if she has an early stage of syphilis, less often - a late one. Then even an untreated woman can give birth to a completely healthy baby.
Symptoms and course:
Syphilis is a very long-term illness. The rash on the skin and mucous membranes is replaced by periods when there are no external signs and the diagnosis can be made only after a blood test for specific serological reactions. Such latent periods can be delayed for a long time, especially in the later stages, when during a long coexistence the human body and pale treponema adapt to each other, reaching a certain "equilibrium".
Manifestations of the disease do not appear immediately, but after 3-5 weeks. The time preceding them is called incubation: bacteria spread with the flow of lymph and blood throughout the body and multiply rapidly. When there are a lot of them and the first signs of the disease appear, the stage of primary syphilis sets in. Its external symptoms are erosion or an ulcer (hard chancre) at the site of infection and an increase in nearby lymph nodes, which go away without treatment after a few weeks. 6-7 weeks after this, a rash spreads throughout the body. This means that the disease has passed into the secondary stage. During it, rashes of a different nature appear and, having existed for some time, disappear. The tertiary period of syphilis occurs in 5-10 years: nodes and tubercles appear on the skin.

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