Diagnosing acquired syphilis through oral lesions: the 12 year experience of an Oral Medicine Center.Braz J Otorhinolaryngol. 2020 May - Jun; 86(3):358-363.BJ
A resurgence of syphilis in Brazil has been reported in recent years.
With this in mind, the present study sought to investigate the frequency, demographics, and clinical characteristics of patients with acquired syphilis with oral involvement who received medical care at an Oral Medicine Reference Center in a Brazilian Public Hospital.
A retrospective study, spanning a period of 12 years, was performed to identify changing trends in syphilis over time. Medical records from all patients diagnosed with acquired syphilis who received medical care at the Hospital's Oral Medicine Clinic from 2005 to 2016 were reviewed, and the demographic and clinical data were collected.
A total of 85 patients had been diagnosed with acquired syphilis, with a significant increase in the number of cases over the past 5 years. Patients ranged from 16 to 76 years of age, with a peak in the third and fourth decades. Forty-eight cases affected males (56.5%), while 37 cases affected females (43.5%). Most of the oral lesions appeared as unique ulcers or plaques, with the lips and tongue representing the most affected sites. All cases were positive for Venereal Disease Research Laboratory or Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody Absorption, and treatment was performed with Penicillin G benzathine in most cases (84.7%).
The frequency of oral syphilis has been rising over time and oral lesions may well represent a diagnostic clue; therefore, oral health professionals must be made aware and properly trained in an attempt to develop a high degree of clinical suspicion in the diagnosis of syphilis.