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The Third Great Plague
A Discussion of Syphilis for Everyday People

written by "Stokes, John H. (John Hinchman), 1885-1961"
...ary period have died out, whether as a result of treatment or in the normal course of the disease, a woman who still has syphilis latent in her or even in active tertiary form, may bear a healthy child. Such a child may be perfectly healthy in every particular, and not only not have syphilis, but show no sign that the mother had the disease. It is in the period of active syphilis, the three, four, or five years following her infection, that the syphilitic mother is most likely to bear syphilitic children. Non-hereditary Syphilis in Children.—Syphilis in children is not always hereditary, even though the signs of it appear only a short time after birth. A woman who at the beginning of her pregnancy was free from the disease, may acquire it while she is still carrying the child as a result of her husband's becoming infected from some outside source. The limitation which pregnancy may put on sexual indulgence[Pg 95] leads some men to seek sexual gratification elsewhere than with their wives. The husband becoming infected, then infects his pregnant wife. There are no absolute rules about the matter, but if the mother is not infected until the seventh month of her pregnancy, the child is likely to escape the hereditary form of the disease. On the other hand, imagine the prospects for infection when the child is born through a birth-canal filled with mucous patches or with a chancre on the neck of the womb. Children infected in this way at birth do not develop the true hereditary form of the disease, but get the acquired form with a chancre and secondary period, just as in later life. Effect of Syphilis on the Child-bearing Woman.—What does syphilis mean for the woman who is in the child-bearing period? In the first place, unlike gonorrhea, which is apt to make women sterile, syphilis does not materially reduce the power to conceive in most cases. A woman with active syphilis alone may conceive with great frequency, bu...

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