Yaws is a common skin and bone infection caused by bacteria that belong to the same species that causes syphilis. Though Yaws is not sexually transmitted, it can spread quickly via direct skin contact. This disease is prevalent in tropical and hot regions. The most susceptible are children from ages 2 to 5, particularly those who are not practicing good hygiene, and their skin is always injured or wounded.

Yaws has three stages of development where the third is considered rare and severe if it is not treated correctly or immediately:

  1. First Stage– The appearance of “Mother Yaws,” characterized by a red bump that grows larger. It usually appears on leg areas or in the buttocks.
  2. Second Stage – Appearance of crusty-like rashes that now spread in the arms and legs. Sores may appear at the soles of your feet.
  3. Third Stage– It is rare among those who have Yaws to reach this stage. It causes severe damage not only to the skin but even to the bones and joints. It can also lead to facial disfiguration, which can affect and damage the throat.


Below are the detailed signs and symptoms of an individual who acquired Yaws:

  • Swelling of lymph nodes
  • Rashes that develops into crust
  • Bumps and sores that cause a painful sensation and may appear at the sole of the feet, legs, or buttocks
  • Joint pains
  • The emergence of “Mother Yaw” on the thighs or buttocks
  • Disfiguration of the face


Most physicians conduct a rigid physical examination and tracing of their patient’s travel history who is suspected of having a Yaws since most of the cases of this disease occur in tropical areas like Brazil or the Philippines. A blood test is also done to check if an infection might be triggered by the bacteria that causes Yaws. Another accurate means to determine whether you have Yaws is by taking a sample of tissue from your skin infected by the sores and bumps, which will be tested in the laboratory if there is a bacteria that causes the said infectious disease.


Penicillin, which is a safe and potent antibacterial medication, has been used by the World Health Organization (WHO) since the 1950s when a Yaw’s outbreak occurred in several tropical countries, which lead to almost millions of people acquiring the said illness. A shot of penicillin is often enough to stop the development of Yaws. Still, if the patient somewhat has an allergic reaction to penicillin, they can instead use alternative medications like tetracycline, doxycycline, or other antibiotics.

In some other cases, Yaws heals automatically for about six months. However, it may take longer once your condition escalates to the second stage, especially if the rashes and sores have already appeared on your body. In general, Yaws can heal, but there is a high chance that it will return, or the symptoms will relapse again if it is not treated correctly.


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