Oral lesions are described in all stages of syphilis, except in the latent stage. During the secondary stage of infection, oral lesions, saliva and blood of infected person are very contagious. The aim of this case report was to point to the secondary syphilis in differential diagnosis of oral diseases.
A 30-year-old homosexual man presented with a three-week history of a painless verrucous lesion on his lower lip. Physical examination revealed a hypertrophic painless papillomatous lesion on the lower lip. The lesion was partly split with peripheral fissures. There were no generalized lymphadenopathies and no evidence of systemic disease. Further examination showed no other mucous membrane or cutaneous lesions elsewhere on the body. The external genitalia were normal. The patient was HIV-negative and otherwise healthy. A review of his medical history was significant for previous well documented treatment of anal chancre, which was successfully commenced at our Institute in 2010. It also revealed a history of a single unprotected receptive oral sex with an unknown partner 3 months before the onset of lesion. The diagnosis of condyloma latum on the lower lip was considered on clinical grounds. Laboratory findings, including complete blood count and blood chemistry were within normal limits. The VDRL (venereal disease research laboratory) test was positive with a titre of 1 : 128. Treponema pallidum hemagglutination assay (TPHA) was positive. HIV serology was non-reactive.
The final diagnosis of solitary condyloma latum on the lower lip, as the only sign of secondary syphilis, was confirmed by positive results of routine serologic tests for syphilis. The patient was diagnosed with secondary syphilis and treated with a single intramuscular injection of benzathine penicillin, 2.4 million units. The lesion regressed completely within 2 weeks. Three months later the VDRL titer had fallen to 1 : 8 and HIV serology remained negative.
Polymorphic oral manifestations in syphilis indicate that this disease should not be overlooked in the differential diagnosis of not only benign, but even malignant oral lesions.
In conclusion, as far as the world literature available to us is concerned, this would be the first report of isolated solitary condyloma latum on the oral lip that, in the absence of any other clinical signs or symptoms of the disease, led to the diagnosis of secondary syphilis.