Latent Syphilis

  • Latent Syphilis is a stage of syphilis characterized by an absence of overt symptomology. The Latent stage follows Secondary Syphilis and can last for years. Infected individuals can only be identified with serological tests. However, mothers with latent infections can still transmit the organisms in utero, resulting in Congenital Syphilis, and the disease can also be transmitted from person-to-person with blood transfusions and organ donations. About 25% of patients in the latent stage will develop relapses of either Primary Syphilis or Secondary Syphilis while 30% patients will eventually progress to Tertiary Syphilis. Although it was once thought that some individuals in the latent stage may resolve the infection entirely, it now appears that this is erroneous and latency can never be fully eliminated without antibiotic treatment.