Incubation period weeks to months

Period of communicability is for as long as moist lesions are present, generally several months.

Occurrence and distribution The non-venereal form of syphilis is found in localized foci in Africa and the Arabian peninsula (Fig. 14.1), where it is known locally as Bejel or Njovera. Predominantly an infection of childhood, it thrives in conditions of poverty, overcrowding and where there is limited sanitation.

Control and prevention It is a disease of low personal hygiene where crowding together and contact with lesions readily occurs. Cross-immunity is shared with venereal syphilis, therefore, eradication of the disease by mass treatment generally means a replacement by the more serious and devastating venereal syphilis. Family planning, better housing, education and improving the general standard of hygiene might be a preferable control strategy in such situations.

Treatment is with penicillin in the same manner as yaws.

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