Sex Transm Infect 89:98-99 doi:10.1136/sextrans-2012-050503
  • Clinical
  • Case report

Secondary syphilis mimicking inflammatory bowel disease

  1. Sacramento Marques1
  1. 1Dermatology Service, Santa Maria Hospital, Lisbon, Portugal
  2. 2Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical, Lisbon, Portugal
  3. 3Paediatric Gastroenterology Unit, Santa Maria Hospital, Lisbon, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Dr Pedro Vasconcelos, Hospital de Santa Maria, Serviço de Dermatologia, Av. Professor Egas Moniz, 1649-035 Lisboa, Portugal; jp_vasconcelos{at}
  1. Contributors PV: Dermatology and venereology resident, assisted the patient after solicitation from paediatrics colleagues, treated the patient and followed him in hospital and out of hospital, acquired the data, revised the bibliography and designed the report. JB-C: dermatologist and PhD in microbiology and epidemiology, revised the article making a substantial contribution to its scientific content. HL: paediatric gastroenterologist, assisted the patient in the emergency room and ward, and initially studied the case from the point of view of a possible bowel inflammatory disease; contributed to the manuscript in all gastroenterological aspects. SM: head of the dermatology department of Santa Maria Hospital, clinician with a large experience in venereology, gave general support and supervision in the authorship of this manuscript.

  • Accepted 12 April 2012
  • Published Online First 29 May 2012


This study reports the case of a 15-year-old male patient with extensive anal inflammation, cobblestone-like mucosa and areas of ulceration, loose bloody stool and weight loss for 8 weeks, suggestive of inflammatory bowel disease. Genital lesions of syphilides were later observed and Venereal Disease Research Laboratory test was positive, thus benzyl penicillin treatment was prescribed with total resolution of genital and bowel symptoms.


  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.