Date of Award

December 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Fred C. Anapol

Committee Members

Joseph P. Gray, Anthony A. Azenabor


The Treponemal diseases of yaws, endemic and venereal syphilis are capable of producing skeletal lesions during the late stages of infection. Due to the relatedness within the Treponema species all three diseases produce similar skeletal pathologies, making the classification of one specific treponemal disease versus another extremely difficult. This study investigates the skeletal pathologies associated with the treponemal infections of yaws, endemic and venereal syphilis in order to determine the skeletal lesions limited to only venereal syphilis. This study concludes that in order to distinguish treponemal diseases one must look beyond just the skeletal lesions and take into account the age of the individual, geographical origin of the remains, and the overall severity of lesions. Further, the caries sicca lesions when combined with these factors can indicate that skeletal lesions are caused by venereal syphilis rather than yaws or endemic syphilis.