Header: Infectious Diseases

Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases include the sexually transmitted diseases, in German also called STD (sexually transmitted diseases) or STI (sexually transmitted infections). These are diseases primarily transmitted through sexual intercourse, and caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.

The "classic venereal diseases" such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chancroid and lympohgranuloma venereum were until recently only of limited importance, since they occurred only rarely. Recently, however, the cases involving these diseases are on the rise again.

Syphilis also called syphilis, venereal syphilis, chancre, or Frenchman disease (maladie française) called, is an infectious disease. The causative agent of syphilis is the bacterium treponema pallidum. Syphilis is transmitted primarily through contact with mucous membranes and exclusively from person to person. During pregnancy and at birth a diseased mother can transmit the infection to her child (Congenital syphilis). The appearance of the disease varies. Typical is a beginning stage with painless mucosal ulceration and lymphadenopathy. In a number of the infected individuals these infections involve a chronic disease that is characterized by various skin and organ. In the final stage of the disease, the central nervous system is destroyed. The diagnosis is mainly made by the visual diagnosis of skin lesions or the detection of antibodies in a laboratory test. Syphilis is curable with antibiotics. The discovery of antibiotics led to a significant decline of syphilis in the 20th Century. Since the 1990s, however, an increase in disease has again been observed.

Gonorrhea, colloquially referred to as the clap, is a globally occurring, exclusively sexually transmitted disease in humans. It is caused . by the bacterial strain of gonorrhea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae). Particularly persons with frequently changing sexual partners are at risk. The disease can be transmitted from infected mother to child during birth. The incubation period (time from infection to the appearance of the first symptoms) is usually two to three days, but sometimes it can take up to seven days. In about five percent of those persons, there are no symptoms despite an infection. Although, asymptomatic infected persons show no symptoms they can infect other people. In men, the symptoms are urethritis itching, purulent discharge, and painful urination. Rare complications include inflammation of the epididymis and the prostate. In women, the incubation period cannot be pinpointed that accurately, but the symptoms usually appear after ten days. Here an inflammation of the cervix with purulent discharge may be additionally present to the other symptoms. Inflammation of the vaginal mucosa occurs only in very rare cases. Infected uterus and fallopian tubes can clog, which can lead to sterility.

Ulcus or Chancroid Chancroid is a rare sexually transmitted disease in Europe. It appears mostly in tropical countries and is caused by infection with the bacterium haemuphilus ducreyl. The agents are very sensitive to cold and dehydration, their transmission occurs almost exclusively through sexual intercourse. The infection rarely generalized beyond the lymph nodes. The disease manifests itself a few days after the initial infection. Usually small very painful, skin ulcers are noted on the genitals. Furthermore, there is a local swelling of the lymph nodes. Especially in women, the infection can also run completely asymptomatic.

Lymphogranuloma venereum (also lymphogranuloma venereum) is a very rare disease in the Western world; it is more common in the tropics. The pathogens are bacterial chlamydia trachomatis. At the point of contact (genital, oral, rectal) small painless ulcers are forming that regress spontaneously after 10 - 14 days. In the second stage, within one to four weeks, the regional lymph nodes swell (genital or groin area of men and genital and intestinal area in women) and become painful. The skin may turn blue-red at these locations. If left untreated, this disease can turn into a chronic stage. After five to ten years, sometimes even for decades, it may come to a continuing closure of the lymphatic system and genital lymphedema. Chronic ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract and the reproductive organs are signs of a far-advanced disease process. Common symptoms include fever, joint pain, muscle pain, and headaches.

Much more significant - and in some cases much more difficult to treat - are diseases such as HIV infections, hepatitis, genital herpes, infection with trichomoniasis, infestations of crab lice (pediculosis pubis), and human papilloma virus.