This image depicts a dorsal view of a patient’s hands, which exhibited a number of symptoms found in late congenital syphilis due to syphilitic bone disease that included osteoperiostitis, ulnar deviation of the middle fingers, and "du Bois sign", which involves a shortening of the little finger. Congenital syphilis occurs when a developing infant within the womb is infected by the spirochete microorganism, Treponema pallidum, as it receives blood by way of the placenta.
Congenital syphilis is a condition with a wide spectrum of severity, and only severe cases are clinically apparent at birth. An infant or child (aged less than 2 years) may have signs such as hepatosplenomegaly, rash, condyloma lata, snuffles, jaundice (nonviral hepatitis), pseudoparalysis, anemia, or edema (nephrotic syndrome and/or malnutrition). An older child may have stigmata, e.g., interstitial keratitis, nerve deafness, anterior bowing of shins, and rhagades, or Clutton joints.