Syphilis makes it’s comeback!

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Fast-Track Diagnostics (FTD) are a leading supplier of molecular real-time PCR tests. They have a number of kits that can test for Syphilis and below highlights why this is so crucial:

The old foe called Syphilis

  • Syphilis, caused by Treponema pallidum, is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can have very serious complications (1).
  • Syphilis is divided into stages (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary).
  • Different signs and symptoms are associated with each stage.
  • Tertiary syphilis can affect multiple organ systems, including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints (1).
  • Control of syphilis is mainly dependent on the timely diagnosis and prompt treatment of infected individuals and their contacts with benzathine penicillin G (BPG), the first-line drug for all stages of syphilis (2)
  • Symptoms are often confused with other diseases, thus Syphilis` nickname is the “great pretender”.
  • The fact that many doctors have not treated a case since the ‘90s or ever, is leading to misdiagnosis.
  • Trends since 2010 show that overall syphilis rates have been increasing, particularly among men, mainly due to increased cases among MSM, likely linked to changes in sexual behaviour (3,4).

Unmask the “great pretender” or… why FTD kits instead of traditional methods?

  • Technicians performing dark-field microscopy require great experience and expertise
  • If you send a swab for herpes and don’t also send syphilis serology, you miss it.
  • Antibodies are earliest detectable 2-3 weeks after infection (5)
  • False-negative serology possible and therewith follow-up visits with re-tests needed (5)
  • Avoid treatment delays and progression of disease
  • False-positive serology results due to old infections.
  • Positive serology results need confirmatory testing.
  • Molecular amplification of Treponema pallidum DNA by RT-PCR has been proven useful in the diagnosis of early syphilis (6)
  • FTD kit results come up one day before serology.
  • Ease of performance.
  • Syphilis is “free” in our multiplex if you buy herpes.

Please visit the FTD Website for more details on their FTD Vaginal swab and FTD Genital ulcer kits that can detect Treponema pallidum and other STI relevant pathogens. Also visit our product pages for these and other kits that can test for Syphilis.



2. Workowski KA and Bolan GA (2015). Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2015. MMWR Recomm Rep 64(RR-03): 1-137




5. Heymans et al., Clinical value of Treponema pallidum real-time PCR for diagnosis of syphilis, J. Clin. Microbiol. February 2010 vol. 48 no. 2 497-502

6. Meyer et al., Schnelltest-Diagnostik sexuell übertragbarer Infektionen in niedrigschwelligen Einrichtungen : Gemeinsame Stellungnahme des RKI, PEI und der DSTIG Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2017 Feb;60(2):245-254. doi: 10.1007/s00103-016-2496-3

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