BSIP, SIDEA REVUZ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP, SIDEA REVUZ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gumma on the leg of a patient with tertiary (late) syphilis. A gumma is a mass of inflamed tissue. Syphilis is a sexually-transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. Primary syphilis, which occurs between a week and three months after exposure to the bacteria, causes a firm sore called a chancre to appear at the exposure site. Up to six months after this, a rash occurs on the skin, which is highly contagious. Tertiary syphilis appears after a year or more, with the appearance of gummas such as this, as well as joint deformities, personality changes and cardiovascular problems.
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