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Tertiary Treponematosis – Lyme Disease, Syphilis, gum disease

Herbert B. Allen*, Maria Hannaway and Suresh Joshi

Journal of Clinical & Experimental
Dermatology Research

With recent findings in arthritis and dementia, it has become apparent that Lyme treponemes and oral
treponemes have tertiary clinical findings similar to tertiary syphilis. The primary findings are in the skin or mucous
membranes with syphilis demonstrating a chancre, Lyme disease erythema chronicum migrans, and oral
treponemes dental plaque. Secondary disease is not as clear in Lyme and oral treponematosis as in syphilis, but
tertiary is surprisingly similar with treponemes from all three being found in the brain and joints. Lyme and oral
organisms have been visualized in the brain and joints by PCR. “Montauk knee” was actually “Lyme” arthritis before
the organism was shown to be the causative agent. With the demonstration of the organisms in these locations,
treatment should likely be reconsidered. It would seem most logical to prevent them from arriving there in the first
place. This would be entirely similar to the prevention of neurosyphilis by appropriate treatment in the earlier stages.
Persistence so these organisms is likely due to biofilm production.

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