Yaws is a commonly observed disease observed in children in the tropical areas. The condition is a chronic relapsing infectious illness which majorly effects on the skin and later possibly affecting the bones and joints as well. It is a bacterial infection caused by a bacterium spirochete Treponema pertenue. The condition is a tropical illness and is commonly observed in West Africa, Indonesia, New Guinea, Dominica etc. The infection commonly affects children between the age of 2 to 5 years, especially those who wear few clothes and live in poor hygiene areas.
During the era of 1950, the infection was commonly known and had affected 50 to 100 million people across the tropical belt. The WHO (world Health Organization) had battled Yaws in most of the tropical areas by examining the cause and developing reliable resources as the effective treatments. This helped the incidence of this infectious disease decline dramatically across the world.
The disease is generally transmitted by skin to skin contact, the bacterium cannot penetrate in the human body through normal skin to skin contact, it makes it way through cuts, or scrape in the skin. The condition gets promoted in children due to poor hygiene and over-crowding. A single shot of penicillin is a satisfying treatment to get it cures, only if the case is not of a tertiary Yaws.
It is common as a tropical disease and is characterized by the development of crusted granulomatous ulcers on the extremities.
Types of Yaws:
The condition is a skin-disease or infection observed in children. It is a contagious infection which spreads through touch. The types of yaws include, Early Yaws, Second stage Yaws and Late Yaws.
Early Yaws: It is the case when about three to five weeks after the person is exposed to the skin infection. It appears in a raspberry like bump on the skin, commonly seen on legs or butocks. The bump which is also called frambesioma or mother yaw, gradually grows bigger forming a thing yellow crust. It develops an itchy sensation and swelling of the lymph nodes. The bump takes the time of six months to heal in some cases leaving a scar on that particular area.
Second Stage Yaws: The next stage starts while the early one or the mother yaw is still present or it starts within several weeks once the first one heals. In this particular case, a crusty rash forms which involves the face, arms, legs and buttocks. It might also turn up on the bottom of the feet making it painful with thick sores. In such cases walking becomes painful and difficult. It can further appear like a crab like gait called as crab yaws. However, the bones and joints can also get affected in this second stage, but the effects are never destructing on areas of the body.
Late Yaws: The condition is rare and is observed in only 10% of people infected by yaws. It takes a long span of 5 years after the early yaws start. It causes severe damage to the skin, bones and joints specifically in the legs of the patient infected by Yaws. In some of the cases it can also form a facial disfiguration called gangosa. The facial effects generally attacks and destroys parts of nose, upper jaw, palate and some parts of throat called pharynx. Late Yaws can cause headache and nasal discharge if there is swelling in the internal parts of nose.
Causes of Yaws
Yaws is caused by a particular bacterium called a spirochete, the one which is spiral shaped type of one. Scientifically referred to as Treponema pertenue, the organism is considered as a subspecies of T. pallidum, the one that causes syphilis (a systemic sexually transmitted disease). However, the history of Yaws in regards to the bacterium and other organism is unclear. The above mentioned is the only precisely known fact about the causes of Yaws.
Signs and Symptoms of Yaws:
The basic symptoms include single, itchy, raspberry growth (mother Yaw) on the skin. The signs symptoms usually are appeared on the buttocks and legs which eventually develops a thin with yellow crust.
- Swollen glands and lymph nodes
- A rash that forming a brown crust
- Pain in bone and joint
- Painful bumps and sores on the outer skin and on the soles of the feet
- Swollen face and disfiguration are considered as the extreme signs and symptoms of Yaws.
How is Yaws Diagnosed?
Yaws is a contagious disease or infection and is normally diagnosed by considering the travel history of the patient. Certain other physical examinations can also be carried out to make a proper diagnosis by carrying out blood tests to know the evidence of the infection with the presence and count of bacterium in the body. Some doctors also require a sample of tissue from a skin sore, it will be examined in special laboratories to attain accuracy.
Treatments for Yaws
A single shot of penicillin is effective measure to treat the early stage of Yaws. However, the medicine is given in different dosages depending on the age, tolerating capacities and intensity of the infection. If the patient is allergic to penicillin, the doctor uses tetracycline hydrochloride which is another medical aid to get cured from Yaws.
Expected Duration to get healed
It depends on what type of yaw is been diagnosed. The mother yaw, or the one that takes place at an earlier stage often heals within a shorter span without any treatment. It requires around six months getting off completely. The latter, or the second stage Yaw is in the forms of lesions and rashes which are comparatively severe and requires proper medical dose to get cured. This is a contagious and chronic skin infection where if grown severely, lasts longer with symptoms that can return over years.
Yaws is an infectious disease and generally the treatment for this is always observed successful. The disease is never fatal hence, proper drug consumption and medical approach makes it easier to cure.