Yaws

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Yaws Sign

Bumps on the Skin

Infections, tumors, and the body's response to trauma or injury can all lead to lumps or bumps that appear to be located on or underneath the skin.

Depending upon the cause, skin lumps or bumps may vary in size and be firm or soft to the touch. The overlying skin may be reddened or ulcerated. Skin bumps may or may not be painful or tender, depending upon the cause of the lesions.

Yaws facts

  • Yaws is a common disease of children in the tropics.
  • Yaws is a chronic, relapsing infectious illness.
  • Yaws first affects the skin and later possibly the bones and joints as well.
  • Yaws is caused by a bacterium, the spirochete Treponema pertenue.
  • Transmission is by skin-to-skin contact; the bacteria cannot penetrate normal skin but can enter through a scrape or cut in the skin, so yaws risk factors are direct skin contact with an infected individual and having a scrape or a cut in the skin.
  • Yaws is promoted by overcrowding and poor hygiene.
  • Yaws (except for tertiary yaws) may be cured by a single shot of benzathine penicillin or an oral dose of azithromycin.

What is yaws? What are symptoms of yaws?

Yaws is a common chronic infectious disease that occurs mainly in warm humid regions such as the tropical areas of Africa, Asia, South and Central Americas, plus the Pacific Islands. The disease has many names (for example, pian, parangi, paru, frambesia tropica). Yaws usually features lesions that appear as bumps on the skin of the face, hands, feet, and genital area. The disease most often starts as a single lesion that becomes slightly elevated, develops a crust that is shed, leaving a base that resembles the texture of a raspberry or strawberry. This primary lesion is termed the mother yaw (also termed buba, buba madre, or primary frambesioma). Secondary lesions, termed daughter yaws, develop in about six to 16 weeks after the primary lesion. Almost all cases of yaws begin in children under 15 years of age, with the peak incidence in 6- to 10-year-old children. The incidence is about the same in males and females. Yaws is a member of the treponematoses, diseases caused by spiral bacteria in the genus Treponema; besides yaws, the disease include endemic syphilis (bejel) and pinta. Of these three diseases, yaws is the most common.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/13/2016

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Skin Care & Conditions Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors