The incubation period for syphilis is usually about 3 weeks.
The typical chancre appears as a 1 cm eroded, pink, flat topped papule, surrounded by a narrow red border. There may be some crusting. Lesions are usually solitary.
The chancre persists for three to eight weeks and then heals leaving a slight scar.
The chancre contains spirochetes that are visible on dark field examination.
There may be an associated adenopathy.
Reactive serology is detectable by six weeks.
Primary syphilis is contagious.
- The primary chancre(s) fade(s) without treatment, but treatment is still necessary.
- See: Syphilis for treatment details.