great imitator

Medspeak A nonspecific term for any condition that is difficult to diagnose due to its polymorphous presentation; the classic ‘great imitator’ is syphilis, which has a broad clinical palette, especially vis-à-vis the skin and central nervous system; lesser ‘great’ imitators include HIV infection, hypothyroidism, systemic lupus erythematosus, tertiary Lyme disease, pheochromocytoma
Rheumatology Systemic lupus erythematosus, see there
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.

great imitator

Great imposter A nonspecific term for any condition that is difficult to diagnose due to its polymorphous presentation; the classic 'great imitator' is syphilis, which has a broad clinical palette, especially affecting the skin and CNS; more recent lesser 'great imitators include HIV, hypothyroidism, tertiary Lyme disease, pheochromocytoma. Cf Internists' tumor RheumatologySystemic lupus erythematosus, see there.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in classic literature ?
Being at my wits' end for want of money, and seeing what audiences Mathews drew, the idea occurred to me of starting an imitation of the great Imitator himself, in the shape of an "At Home," given by a woman.
Phaedrus, the great imitator of Aesop, plainly indicates this double purpose to be the true office of the writer of fables.
Syphilis, the "great imitator" is a sexually transmitted infections caused by the organism Treponema pallidum.2 The lesions of secondary syphilis that appear in the mucocutaneous areas are called as condyloma lata.
However, secondary and latent syphilis may entail a broad range of manifestations, which is why syphilis is known as the "great imitator."
The alarming resurgence of syphilis and high coinfection rates with HIV necessitate clinicians' familiarity with this manifestation of "the great imitator."
Lyme disease is notoriously known as the "great imitator" because of its ability to mimic other nonspecific diseases, often leading to delayed or incorrect diagnoses [2].
This disease, which is also known as the 'great imitator' has three stages.
In the past, the great imitator of almost any disease was syphilis, and today the great mimicker, including fibromyalgia, is Lyme disease, which Brady explores.
Syphilis being a great imitator of diseases is to be considered in all atypical cutaneous presentations, so as to facilitate early diagnosis.
The Lyme bacterium is frequently called "the great imitator" because the symptoms it causes can mimic many other diseases.
* Lyme disease is a multi-systemic disease and it is often called the "great imitator".
Still the great imitator. JAMA, 1983; 249: 3069-3070.