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What causes syphilis?

Syphilis is caused by the bacteria called Treponema pallidum. This infection is most commonly spread through sexual contact. Bacteria leave the open sore of the infected person and enter through the mucous membranes or skin of the other person. Sometimes, syphilis may spread through other kinds of close contact, like kissing, or it can spread from a mother to her baby during birth or pregnancy. However, the bacteria can't live long outside of the body, so you can't get syphilis from things like toilets or swimming pools.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.