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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Secondary Syphilis


Case Presentation: A 40-year-old male presented the the emergency department (ED) due to a diffuse body rash after a sexual encounter. Examination revealed a maculopapular rash that included the palms and soles of the feet bilaterally. A rapid plasma reagin was positive, and the patient was treated with 2.4 million units of benzathine benzylpenicillin intramuscularly.

Diagnosis: Secondary syphilis can mimic many disease processes but classically presents as a painless macular rash on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Diagnosis is based upon clinical examination coupled with serological testing. Emergency department management should include 2.4 million units of benzathine benzylpenicillin intramuscularly and mitigation strategies.

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