Other Conditions With Symptoms Similar to Syphilis
Syphilis causes symptoms that are very similar to
those of many other diseases and are sometimes not recognized. Syphilis has
historically been referred to as "the great imitator."
Symptoms of the primary stage of syphilis are
similar to those of:
- Other sexually transmitted infections. Examples
bacterial infection that causes open sores.
Symptoms of the secondary stage of syphilis
are similar to:
- A syndrome that causes eruptions of the skin and
mucous membranes (erythema multiforme).
type of skin
inflammation that causes itching and large patches of
scaly skin sores (psoriasis) or a type of psoriasis that is
- A skin rash caused by a
viral infection or from being bitten by a tick (Rocky Mountain spotted fever or
- A condition called
pityriasis rosea that causes a slightly scaling, pink, raised rash over the
trunk and unexposed areas of the body.
- A skin disease caused by the
bites of insects, such as mites (scabies).
- Initial infection with the human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
- A condition in which
the blood vessels in the anus become inflamed and sore (hemorrhoids).
- Cancer of the
lymph system (lymphoma).
- A disorder that causes body
tissues to thicken (sarcoidosis).
- Lupus, which can cause a skin rash, joint pains, and
- Some types of
genital warts, especially when they occur around the
Symptoms of the tertiary (late) stage depend
on the organ system affected. Symptoms may resemble those of:
Symptoms of syphilis that are present at birth
(congenital syphilis) may be similar to:
- German measles (rubella).
- A herpes-type virus that causes
serious illness in newborns (cytomegalovirus).
- A skin
disease that causes sores, usually in the mouth and nose (impetigo).
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Devika Singh, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease|
|Last Revised||September 29, 2011|