A pint

Pinta, also known as karate, is an exclusively cutaneous, non-believing, endemic to Latin American treponematosis, characterized by involvement of the mucous membranes, but without involvement in this process of the internal organs, bones and the joints.

The name of the disease translated from Spanish means spot – the spotted elements are the main morphological manifestations.

What are the causes?

The cause of the disease is Treponema Carateum Herrejin, discovered in 1927. It is similar in morphological and antigenic properties to pale treponema and Treponema pertenue Castellani, therefore there is cross-immunity between pintata and syphilis.

The cause of this disease lives in the soil, is found on plants and fruits. Contagion takes place through direct and indirect contact with a sick person.

The causative agent penetrates through damaged skin or mucous membranes. Transmission of this type of treponema by insects /mosquitoes, bedbugs, lice/ has been proven.

Children are especially prone to the disease. Low immune reactivity, increased sweating of the skin and alkaline reaction of its water-lipid barrier can be defined as endogenous risk factors.

Among the exogenous factors, high population density, microtraumas and maceration /softening, softening/on the skin at high temperature and increased air humidity in tropical climates stand out.

The role of insects in the transmission of treponematosis is particularly large in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Honduras, Salvador and Nicaragua.

Contagion through sexual contact is not dominant, since the majority of patients are infected in childhood. Therefore, the pinta, as well as the yam, belongs to the non-venereal treponematoses.

What are the symptoms?

The incubation period lasts 6-8 weeks, after which a small papule appears at the entrance of the infection – pintos chancre, which within a few weeks transforms into a pink spot with slight thickening and pronounced desquamation resembling psoriatic scaling.

The incubation period is characterized by the absence of prodromal symptoms, and pintos chancre is accompanied by a burning sensation and pain.

Around the pintous chancre due to autoinoculation, small, daughter, maculo-nodular primary affections arise, forming on the periphery of the chancre and prone to fusion.

Gradually, a large, slightly compacted erythema-squamous lesion is formed.

Most often, the location of the pinto chancre is the open areas of the skin of the upper or lower limbs or the face.

Regional lymph nodes react weakly and intermittently, lymphanginitis does not develop.

After a few months, the primary period resolves spontaneously, and an atrophic dyschromia of the skin remains at the site of the pintous chancre.

The secondary period occurs after a few months, manifests as a result of generalization of the infection, forming secondary rashes called pentides.


The diagnosis is based on the epidemiological and clinical data, the results of the bacterioscopic examination, as well as the samples taken from the pintos chancre and the rashes characteristic of the 2nd and 3rd periods, and also and of the Wasserman’s negative reaction for syphilis.

Treatment of pinta

This disease is treated with depot penicillin drugs.

In the early stages, single injections with large doses of these medications are sufficient.

In the more advanced stages, regression of the disease is observed with 2-3 injections of the same depot penicillin medicinal preparations.

It is also possible to use tetracycline, in which case the dose is 1 gram per day for a period of 10-14 days.


Prevention consists in improving living and production conditions, providing adequate medical care and conducting active prophylactic vaccination in endemic areas.

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