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Yaws

Yaws

Definition

Yaws is a chronic illness which first affects the skin, and then affects the bones.

Description

Yaws tends to strike children, particularly between the ages of two and five. It is common in areas where poverty and overcrowding interfere with good hygiene practices. The most common locations are in rural areas throughout Africa, Southeast Asia, and in locations bordering the equator in the Americas.

Causes and symptoms

Yaws is caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium (spirochete) called Treponema pertenue. This bacterium belongs to the same family as the bacterium that causes syphilis.

Yaws is passed among people by direct skin contact. It requires some kind of a scratched or insect bitten area in order for the bacteria to actually settle in and cause infection. An injured spot on the leg is the most common part of the body through which the bacteria enter. Young children, who are constantly bumping themselves in play, who wear little clothing, who do not wash their hands often, and who may frequently put their hands in their mouths, are particularly susceptible.

The first symptom of yaws occurs three to four weeks after acquiring the bacteria. The area where the bacteria originally entered the skin becomes a noticeable bump (papule). The papule grows larger and develops a punched-out center (ulcer), covered with a yellow crust. Lymph nodes in the area may become swollen and tender. This first papule may take as long as six months to heal. Secondary soft, gummy growths then appear on the face, arms and legs, and buttocks. These soft, tumor-like masses may grow on the soles of the feet, causing the patient to walk in an odd and characteristic fashion on the sides of his or her feet (nicknamed "crab yaws"). More destructive tumors may then disrupt the bones of the face, the jaw, and the lower leg. Ulcers around the nose and on the face may be very mutilating.

Diagnosis

Samples taken from the first papules may be examined using a technique called dark-field microscopy. This often allows the spirochetes to be identified. They may also be identified in fluid withdrawn from swollen lymph nodes. Various tests can also be run on blood samples to determine if an individual is producing antibodies (special immune cells) which are specifically made in response to the presence of these spirochetes.

Treatment

A single penicillin injection in a muscle is sufficient to completely end the disease.

Prognosis

Without treatment, yaws is a terribly disfiguring chronic illness. With appropriate treatment, the progression of the disease can be completely halted.

Prevention

For a time, the World Health Organization (WHO) was working to totally eradicate yaws, just as smallpox was successfully eradicated. This has not occurred, however. WHO continues to work to identify and respond to outbreaks quickly, in an effort to at least slow the spread of yaws.

Resources

ORGANIZATIONS

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1600 Clifton Rd., NE, Atlanta, GA 30333. (800) 311-3435, (404) 639-3311. http://www.cdc.gov.

KEY TERMS

Papule A raised bump on the skin.

Ulcer A punched-out, irritated pit on the skin.

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"Yaws." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yaws." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yaws

"Yaws." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yaws

yaws

yaws or frambesia, tropical infection of the skin caused by a spirochete (Treponema pertenue) closely related to that causing syphilis. Yaws, however, is not a sexually transmitted disease, i.e., it is not contracted by sexual contact; transmission is through ordinary contact with infected persons or their clothing and by insects. An ulcerating lesion ( "mother yaw" ) appears at the site of contact. The second stage of the disease begins 6 to 12 weeks later, when similar ulcerating lesions appear all over the body. If the disease is not treated, the third stage develops several years later, nodular and ulcerating lesions affecting the soles of the feet ( "crab yaws" ) and penetrating the bones with destructive changes. The first and second stages of yaws are easily treated with penicillin and other antibiotics. Yaws is rarely fatal; however, it can lead to chronic disfigurement and disability.

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"yaws." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"yaws." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yaws

yaws

yaws (pian, framboesia) (yawz) n. a tropical infectious disease caused by the presence of the spirochaete Treponema pertenue in the skin and its underlying tissues. Yaws occurs chiefly in conditions of poor hygiene. It is characterized by small tumours, each covered by a yellow crust of dried serum, on the hands, face, legs, and feet. These tumours may deteriorate into deep ulcers. The disease responds well to treatment with antibiotics.

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"yaws." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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yaws

yaws (framboesia) Contagious skin disease found in the humid tropics. It is caused by a spirochete (Treponema pertenue), related to the organism causing syphilis. Yaws, however, is not a sexually transmitted disease (STD), but is transmitted by flies and by direct skin contact with the sores. It may go on to cause disfiguring bone lesions.

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"yaws." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"yaws." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yaws

"yaws." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yaws

yaws

yaws / yôz/ • pl. n. [treated as sing.] a contagious disease of tropical countries, caused by a bacterium (Treponema pallidum subsp. pertenue) that enters skin abrasions and gives rise to small crusted lesions that may develop into deep ulcers.

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"yaws." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"yaws." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/yaws-0

"yaws." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/yaws-0

yaws

yaws contagious skin-disease of tropical countries. XVI. of unkn. orig.

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"yaws." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"yaws." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/yaws-1

"yaws." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/yaws-1

yaws

yawsapplause, Azores, cause, clause, Dors, drawers, gauze, hawse, indoors, Laws, outdoors, pause, plus-fours, quatorze, Santa Claus, taws, tawse, yaws, yours •menopause

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"yaws." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/yaws