Syphilis News and Research

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Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It has often been called “the great imitator” because so many of the signs and symptoms are indistinguishable from those of other diseases.

In the United States, health officials reported over 36,000 cases of syphilis in 2006, including 9,756 cases of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis. In 2006, half of all P&S syphilis cases were reported from 20 counties and 2 cities; and most P&S syphilis cases occurred in persons 20 to 39 years of age. The incidence of P&S syphilis was highest in women 20 to 24 years of age and in men 35 to 39 years of age. Reported cases of congenital syphilis in newborns increased from 2005 to 2006, with 339 new cases reported in 2005 compared to 349 cases in 2006.

Between 2005 and 2006, the number of reported P&S syphilis cases increased 11.8 percent. P&S rates have increased in males each year between 2000 and 2006 from 2.6 to 5.7 and among females between 2004 and 2006. In 2006, 64% of the reported P&S syphilis cases were among men who have sex with men (MSM).

Syphilis is passed from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore. Sores occur mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum. Sores also can occur on the lips and in the mouth. Transmission of the organism occurs during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Pregnant women with the disease can pass it to the babies they are carrying. Syphilis cannot be spread through contact with toilet seats, doorknobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, bathtubs, shared clothing, or eating utensils.
New study reports long-term infectious disease trends in China after SARS outbreak

New study reports long-term infectious disease trends in China after SARS outbreak

ECDC guidance aims to improve antenatal screening for infections to avoid mother-to-child transmission

ECDC guidance aims to improve antenatal screening for infections to avoid mother-to-child transmission

UCF researcher combines new and old science to create method for speedy medical tests

UCF researcher combines new and old science to create method for speedy medical tests

Antiretroviral drugs may increase gay and bisexual men's susceptibility to syphilis

Antiretroviral drugs may increase gay and bisexual men's susceptibility to syphilis

Could pathogen infection really lead to Alzheimer’s?

Could pathogen infection really lead to Alzheimer’s?

Psychology researcher explores barriers deterring MSM from seeking information on STIs

Psychology researcher explores barriers deterring MSM from seeking information on STIs

Poor, remote Indigenous Australians have increased risk of sexually transmissible infections

Poor, remote Indigenous Australians have increased risk of sexually transmissible infections

First case-control study examines link between microcephaly and in utero Zika virus infection

First case-control study examines link between microcephaly and in utero Zika virus infection

STDs are becoming more difficult to treat due to antibiotic resistance, warns WHO

STDs are becoming more difficult to treat due to antibiotic resistance, warns WHO

People with lymphatic filariasis more likely to acquire HIV infection, study shows

People with lymphatic filariasis more likely to acquire HIV infection, study shows

First clinical study for Zika vaccine to begin in Canada

First clinical study for Zika vaccine to begin in Canada

Researchers identify shingles as persistent risk factor for stroke

Researchers identify shingles as persistent risk factor for stroke

Thailand certified free of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis

Thailand certified free of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis

Screening for syphilis in persons at risk for infection provides substantial benefit

Screening for syphilis in persons at risk for infection provides substantial benefit

Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly comes to end after approving many new resolutions

Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly comes to end after approving many new resolutions

Researchers find link between BPD and risk of STI/HIV in male inmates

Researchers find link between BPD and risk of STI/HIV in male inmates

Spread of STIs, peer pressure may have transformed prehistoric humans to monogamists

Spread of STIs, peer pressure may have transformed prehistoric humans to monogamists

Research on multiple sexual behaviors among men is lacking

Research on multiple sexual behaviors among men is lacking

Zika virus can cross the placental barrier, according to new study

Zika virus can cross the placental barrier, according to new study

Falls in stillbirth rates failing to keep pace with childhood, maternal mortality rates

Falls in stillbirth rates failing to keep pace with childhood, maternal mortality rates