Acquired oral syphilis: A multicenter study of 339 patients from South America

Bruno Augusto Benevenuto de Andrade*, José Alcides Almeida de Arruda, Gerardo Gilligan, Eduardo Piemonte, René Panico, Ignacio Molina Ávila, Juan Martin Pimentel Sola, Martha Cecilia Carmona Lorduy, Stella Pupo Marrugo, Angélica Sofia Sánchez Tatis, Laura Cecilia Werner, Aline Corrêa Abrahão, Michelle Agostini, Luisa Buoro, Mônica Simões Israel, Nathália de Almeida Freire, Lucas Ambrósio Lima, Thamiris de Castro Abrantes, John Lennon Silva Cunha, Maria Eduarda Pérez-de-OliveiraAna Luiza Oliveira Corrêa Roza, Pablo Agustin Vargas, Marcio Ajudarte Lopes, Alan Roger Santos-Silva, Oslei Paes de Almeida, Flávia Sirotheau Corrêa Pontes, Hélder Antônio Rebelo Pontes, Benjamin Martínez Rondanelli, Mariana Villarroel-Dorrego, Ronell Bologna-Molina, Nathalie Derderian, Celeste Sánchez-Romero, Lucas Guimarães Abreu, Felipe Paiva Fonseca, Ricardo Alves Mesquita, Ricardo Santiago Gomez, René Martínez-Flores, Wilson Delgado-Azañero, Adriana Terezinha Neves Novellino Alves, Simone de Queiroz Chaves Lourenço, Carolina Coimbra, Giovanni Augusto Castanheira Polignano, José Narciso Rosa Assunção Júnior, Giovanna Ribeiro Souto, Paulo Eduardo Alencar Souza, Martinho Campolina Rebello Horta, Wilfredo Alejandro González-Arriagada, Mário José Romañach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: To report the clinicopathologic features of acquired oral syphilis cases in South American countries. Materials and Methods: Clinical data were retrospectively collected from the records of 18 oral diagnostic services in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, Uruguay, and Peru. Serologies of nontreponemal and treponemal tests were used for diagnosis. Results: The series comprised 339 cases of acquired oral syphilis. Secondary syphilis ranked as the most common stage (86.7%). Lesions were more frequent among males (58.0%) and young adults with a mean age of 33.3 years. Individuals aged 20–29 years were most affected (35.3%). The most commonly involved sites were the tongue (31.6%), lip/labial commissure (25.1%), and hard/soft palate (20.4%). Clinically, acquired oral syphilis usually presented as mucous patches (28.4%), papules (25.7%), and ulcers (18.1%). Skin manifestations occurred in 67.7% of individuals, while lymphadenopathy and fever were observed in 61.3% and 11.6% of all subjects, respectively. Most patients were treated with the benzathine penicillin G antibiotic. Conclusion: This report validates the spread of acquired oral syphilis infection among young adults in South America. Our directives include accessible diagnostic tools for proper disease screening, surveillance, and counselling of affected individuals, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOral Diseases
Early online date15 Jul 2021
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES, Finance Code 001), Brazil. We thank Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Brazil. Mrs. E. Greene provided English editing of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC


  • acquired syphilis
  • oral mucosa
  • public health
  • sexually transmitted infections
  • syphilis
  • Treponema pallidum


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