Yaws is a chronic skin infection characterized by noncancerous lumps or ulcers. The infection is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pretense. It is a common childhood disease that often affects children under the age of 15 and is common in rural areas without easy access to healthcare facilities. Other factors that facilitate the spread of yaws include poor personal hygiene and poverty.
The symptoms of yaws
The symptoms of yaws are similar to those of syphilis. A papule forms at the inoculation site after 21 days. It most commonly occurs on the legs or ankles. However, secondary yaws may also develop and may appear between one month and two years after the initial infection. This form can occur anywhere in the body, including the spine, ribs, pelvis, or multiple fingers.
The yaws infection
The yaws infection is endemic in 14 countries. In 2016, there were 34,000 confirmed cases of yaws in the United States. Although yaws was previously thought to be eradicated in the U.S. in the 1950s, their resurgence has made them a serious health threat. Because of extensive global mobility, a clinician must be familiar with the symptoms of yaws in order to effectively treat patients.
The early stage of yaws
The early stage of yaws infection is infectious and usually occurs between four and six months after initial infection. If left untreated, yaws can lead to disfigurement of the nose, bone pain, and thickened soles. Fortunately, there is effective treatment. Despite the potential for severe complications, yaws is curable through timely diagnosis and treatment. Until then, it is important to follow all recommended guidelines for personal hygiene.