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Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum DNA and RNA in Semen of a Syphilis Patient Without Genital or Anal Lesions

Godornes, Charmie, BS*; Ciccarese, Giulia, MD; Drago, Francesco, MD; Giacani, Lorenzo, PhD*‡

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: June 2019 - Volume 46 - Issue 6 - p e62–e64
doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000956
Case Report

Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum DNA and RNA were detected in a semen specimen of a syphilis patient with no genital or anal sores and no clinically evident orchitis. No nucleic acids were found in a urine sample of the same patient collected immediately before the semen sample. Exposure to the syphilis agent through semen could account for transmission episodes in the absence of direct contact with a syphilitic sore.

DNA and RNA for the syphilis agent were detected in a semen specimen of a patient with no genital or anal sores.

From the *Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA;

Health Sciences Department, Section of Dermatology, San Martino University Hospital, Genoa, Italy; and

Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Acknowledgment: The authors are grateful to Dr. Rui-Li Zhang, MD, PhD for critical review of the article.

Conflict of Interest and Sources of Funding: None declared.

Correspondence: Lorenzo Giacani, PhD, University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center, 325 9th Ave. 98104, Seattle, WA. E-mail:

Received for publication September 24, 2018, and accepted November 18, 2018.

© Copyright 2019 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association