Clinical presentation of laboratory confirmed neurosyphilis in a recent cases series

Ingrid M. Daey Ouwens*, Alewijn Ott, Aernoud Fiolet, Peter J. Koehler, Martin Vos, J. Marja Oldhoff, Willem M. A. Verhoeven

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    Objective: The worldwide increase in the incidence of syphilis necessitates alertness to the occurrence of neurosyphilis. Early recognition of neurosyphilis allows for timely treatment, leading to a better treatment outcome. This retrospective study aims to describe the clinical presentation of neurosyphilis in a recent series of neurosyphilis patients.

    Method: All patients were included with a new, laboratory confirmed, diagnosis of neurosyphilis in the period 2004-2018. The clinical data were analysed.

    Results: 34 neurosyphilis patients (1 woman and 33 men) were identified. Age varied from 31-84 years (median age: 44 years). A history of syphilis infection was known for 11 (32%) patients; 12 (35%) patients were HIV seropositive. The distribution of the clinical syndromes was as follows: 16 patients with early neurosyphilis (acute meningitis, meningovasculitis and/or uveitis), 9 patients with late neurosyphilis (General Paralysis of the Insane and/or Tabes Dorsalis), 2 patients with symptoms of both early and late neurosyphilis, 6 patients with asymptomatic neurosyphilis and in 1 patient insufficient data were available to determine a clinical syndrome. Early neurosyphilis was seen in all age categories, late neurosyphilis only occurred in patients > 40 years.

    Conclusions: Neurosyphilis occurs in adults in all age groups, in men more frequent than in women, often in HIV-infected patients, and can present with a wide range of clinical syndromes. Usually no previous infection with syphilis is known.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-24
    Number of pages8
    JournalClinical neuropsychiatry
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb-2019


    • neurosyphilis
    • neuropsychiatry
    • treponema pallidum
    • syphilis
    • HIV co-infection

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