Syphilis – 7/23/18

Carriann presented the case of a young woman with HIV (CD4 250 off ARVs) and prior syphilis s/p treatment five years ago who presented with constitutional symptoms and diffuse rash involving the palms and soles, found to have RPR 1:256 consistent with secondary syphilis!


Clinical Pearls 

  • Lues maligna or malignant syphilis is a rare manifestation of secondary syphilis in immunocompromised individuals and presents as an ulceronodular rash.
  • Syphilitic hepatitis is seen in ~10% of patients with secondary syphilis and presents as predominantly elevated alkaline phosphatase with normal or mildly elevated transaminases.
  • Neurosyphilis can occur at any point after infection with syphilis!
  • Treatment success is defined as a four-fold drop in nontreponemal titers (ie RPR).

Capture

Diagnosis:

Keep in mind the following principles:

  • Treponemal tests remain positive long-term
  • Non-treponemal tests can become negative after treatment.  They are useful for treatment monitoring because they can be quantitative
  • Both tests can be falsely negative early in disease course so repeat tests if clinical suspicion remains
  • Screening algorithm

Treatment monitoring:

  • Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction is a self-limited condition that can occur in ~10-35% of patients within 24 hours of treatment with antibiotics.
  • A four-fold decline in titers (2 dilutions) is considered treatment success.
  • Monitor titers q 6-12 months post treatment.  Increasing titer is concerning for treatment failure, neurosyphilis, or reinfection!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s