The pian or Yaws is an infectious tropical disease caused by bacteria. Its presence is most pronounced in developing countries and hot and humid regions of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific. It mainly affects the bones, skin, and cartilage and can cause deformities in the bones of the legs and nose. Humans are the only living being that can suffer from this disease, which is endemic in 88 countries. However, there are currently 13 who require medical assistance, while the rest could have eradicated the infection.
The responsible bacterium is Treponema pallidum pertenue and belongs to the chronic bacterial infections generated by treponemes. These are the cause of conditions such as syphilis and pinto disease.
In this FastlyHealarticle, we explain the causes, symptoms, and treatment of yaws, a disease that mainly affects children under 15 years of age.
Table of Contents
Causes of yaws
Yaws take place by transmitting the bacteria from one person to another. It is a bacterium from the family of chronic bacterial infections caused by treponemes. Therefore, yaws and syphilis share similarities; however, the latter is considered a sexually transmitted disease. This is precisely where the way of communicating the piano differs. This disease is spread by direct contact through skin lesions and does not respond to sexual contact.
The conditions of poverty in which the people of these countries live are another factor to consider: lack of hygiene, accumulation of dirt, socioeconomic conditions, etc. This context facilitates the possibility of developing the infection responsible for yaws. It is a disease that predominates in rural areas, affecting mainly those under 15 years of age. The bacteria cannot be transmitted through the placenta, and if it is treated in time, it does not usually have complications.
Yaws present different symptoms depending on the evolution of the infection. The incubation period varies between 9 and 10 days, during which no signs of the disease are perceived. The first symptoms are manifested by the presence of a lesion on the skin known as a protopianoma. This consists of small, small, red lesions that increase rapidly. As they develop, they itch and acquire an ulcer appearance. Other symptoms of yaws are swelling of the lymph nodes near where the skin lesion is located. In general, this skin lesion usually heals by leaving a scar.
After 3 or 12 months from the beginning of the infection, the second period begins. This is characterized by the appearance of a skin rash that can affect both sides of the body and predominates in the body orifices. These lesions are known as pianos and can be of different sizes. Painful lesions can also occur on the soles of the feet, and bone lesions are also common in children.
A set of symptoms occur in the tertiary phase that only affects 10% of patients with yaws. These involve the appearance of secondary lesions or new lesions after not having witnessed symptoms. The affected person can suffer cartilage and bone structure injuries at this stage. Consequently, there is a greater predisposition to have joint and bone injuries.
Diagnosis of the disease is generally straightforward. The doctor performs a physical examination and reviews the patient’s medical history. Questions are also asked to determine if you have been to any of the endemic areas.
The physical examination can detect typical yaw skin lesions. In addition, a microscopic examination is also essential to observe the presence of treponemes in the suppurative fluids of the lesions.
On the other hand, another way to diagnose yaws is through a blood test. This test is essential considering that other forms of diagnosis, such as serological tests, are positive in patients with yaws since the bacteria are closely related. An X-ray may also be done to check for bone damage.
Yaw’s treatment is based on an antibiotic, azithromycin, used in developed countries to treat otitis and bronchitis. A single dose is administered orally or benzathine penicillin intramuscularly, also in a single dose.
96% of yaws patients treated with a single azithromycin tablet were cured after six months. The WHO has proposed to eradicate the disease in 2020, although this would require financial aid to acquire all the necessary medicines.
Currently, there is no vaccine for yaws. Prevention of this disease is mainly based on interrupting transmission through early diagnosis and appropriate treatment. In addition, the condition must be treated in a massive way to avoid contagion and eradicate it.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.