Rare presentation of the great imitator: a rare case report

Ravindranath Brahmadeo Chavan, Vasudha Abhijit Belgaumkar, Aarti Sudam Salunke, Sharada Shivaji Chirame


Syphilis is often thought to be a disease of the past, largely eradicated in modern health care; however, the rates are still extremely high in certain populations. The diagnosis of syphilis may be overlooked by primary-care clinicians due to the presence of nonspecific signs and symptoms that may be indistinguishable from other diseases. Left undiagnosed and untreated, life-threatening complications, including hepatitis, stroke, and nervous system damage, may occur particularly in immuno-compromised individuals. We present a case of lues maligna an extremely rare presentation of syphilis.


Lues maligna, Malignant syphilis, Great imitator

Full Text:



Fisher DA, Chang LW, Tuffanelli DL. Lues MalignaPresentation of a Case and a Review of the Literature. Arch Dermatol. 1969;99(1):70-3.

Crissey JT, Denenholz DA. Clinical picture of infectious syphilis. Clin Dermatol. 1984;1:39-61.

Rutowitsch MS. Sífilis maligna precoce. Anais brasileiros de Dermatologia. 1980;55:147-50.

Armignacco O, Antonucci G, Croce GF, Grillo LR, Valenzano L. Lue ed infezione da HIV. Considerazioni su un caso di sifilide maligna. Recenti progressi in medicina. 1988;79:132-4.

CDC. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2012. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2013.

Ghanem KG, Moore RO, Rampalo AM, Erbelding EJ, Zenilman JM, Gebo KA. Lumbar puncture in HIV infected patieints with syphilis and no neurological symptoms. Clin Infections dis. 2009;48(6):816-21.