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Nonvenereal endemic treponematoses: Yaws, endemic syphilis (bejel), and pinta 

Nonvenereal endemic treponematoses: Yaws, endemic syphilis (bejel), and pinta
Nonvenereal endemic treponematoses: Yaws, endemic syphilis (bejel), and pinta

Michael Marks

, Oriol Mitjà

, and David Mabey

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date: 25 February 2021

The endemic treponematoses are chronic, granulomatous diseases caused by morphologically and serologically identical spirochaetes of the genus Treponema. They are spread by intimate but non-sexual contact and possibly by fomites, mainly among children. Treponema pallidum subsp. pertenue causing yaws (framboesia), T. pallidum subsp. endemicum causing endemic syphilis (bejel) and T. carateum causing pinta (carate) are distinguishable from T. pallidum subsp. pallidum, causing venereal syphilis, by their epidemiology and pathological effects and genomic structure (e.g. the arp gene). Despite the successful WHO/UNICEF mass penicillin treatment campaign (1952–1964), there has been a resurgence of yaws, mainly in West Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. Children living in rural areas in warm, humid climates in tropical countries are most affected by yaws. About 10% of untreated cases develop late, disfiguring, or crippling lesions of skin, bone, and cartilage.

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