Skin nontumor
Infectious disorders

Topic Completed: 1 March 2011

Revised: 7 November 2019

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Syphilis skin [title]

Mowafak Hamodat, M.B.Ch.B., M.Sc.
Page views in 2018: 3,622
Page views in 2019 to date: 4,708
Cite this page: Hamodat M Syphilis. website. Accessed December 11th, 2019.
Clinical features
  • Secondary lesions occur on face and trunk; are maculopapular and resemble drug eruption, lichen planus and psoriasis
  • May present as moth-eaten alopecia on scalp, mucous patches on tongue
  • Diagnose by serology
  • Scaly, flesh-colored to erythematous papules or annular plaques
  • Copper macules on palms and soles
Clinical images

Contributed by Dr. Mark R. Wick



Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Dense perivascular or diffuse plasma cell infiltrate with marked endothelial swelling and proliferation in blood vessels
  • May have noncaseating granulomas, vacuolar interface change, acanthosis, spongiosis or lymphocyte exocytosis
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by
Hillary Rose Elwood, M.D.

Dense plasma cell infiltrate

Spirochete immunostain

 Contributed by
 Dr. Mark R. Wick

Steiner stain, secondary

Images hosted on other servers:

Primary syphilis

Positive stains
  • Steiner stain (71% sensitive)
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