The Oral Manifestations of Syphilitic Disease: A Case Report

Kaitlyn L. Streight; Ronald M. Paranal; Daniel M. Musher


J Med Case Reports. 2019;13(227) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Syphilis is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection of the spirochete, Treponema pallidum. While primary syphilis often involves genitalia, oral manifestations are observed in a subset of patients. These lesions are often associated with submandibular and cervical lymphadenopathy. This is a case report of a primary syphilitic lesion located on the hard palate of the oral cavity, with only a very few cases described previously.

Case presentation: We describe a rare case of syphilis in a 59-year-old African American man presenting with subjective fevers, chills, marked submental lymphadenopathy, a diffuse skin rash, and an ulcer of the hard palate.

Conclusions: This case report demonstrates the importance of maintaining a high index of suspicion for syphilitic infection when a patient presents with nonspecific symptoms, a diffuse rash, and an oral lesion.