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.
Bioarchaeology research shows how infectious diseases may have spread 4000 years ago

Bioarchaeology research shows how infectious diseases may have spread 4000 years ago

Ineffective immune responses may be responsible for COVID-19 mortality rates in men and the elderly

Ineffective immune responses may be responsible for COVID-19 mortality rates in men and the elderly

COVID vaccine trials move at warp speed, but recruiting Black volunteers takes time

COVID vaccine trials move at warp speed, but recruiting Black volunteers takes time

Male circumcision campaigns to reduce HIV transmission in Africa are based on systemic racism

Male circumcision campaigns to reduce HIV transmission in Africa are based on systemic racism

Why Black aging matters, too

Why Black aging matters, too

Florida’s cautionary tale: How gutting and muzzling public health fueled COVID fire

Florida’s cautionary tale: How gutting and muzzling public health fueled COVID fire

California’s data failures stymie efforts to curb the virus

California’s data failures stymie efforts to curb the virus

Europeans could have been infected with syphilis before Columbus set sails to America

Europeans could have been infected with syphilis before Columbus set sails to America

Online platform for STI testing receives more than 5000 home kit order requests

Online platform for STI testing receives more than 5000 home kit order requests

Essential and in danger: Coronavirus sickens, even kills public health workers

Essential and in danger: Coronavirus sickens, even kills public health workers

One-fifth of Georgian Londoners contracted syphilis in their mid-30s

One-fifth of Georgian Londoners contracted syphilis in their mid-30s

Thermo Scientific MAS Omni Infectious Controls launched to assess the performance of serological assays

Thermo Scientific MAS Omni Infectious Controls launched to assess the performance of serological assays

Hollowed-out public health system faces more cuts amid virus

Hollowed-out public health system faces more cuts amid virus

Race, rurality play huge role in Georgia areas hardest hit by COVID-19

Race, rurality play huge role in Georgia areas hardest hit by COVID-19

Genomic analysis of medieval skeletons has important implications for syphilis history in Europe

Genomic analysis of medieval skeletons has important implications for syphilis history in Europe

Efforts to curb congenital syphilis falter in COVID’s shadow

Efforts to curb congenital syphilis falter in COVID’s shadow

Lifesaving innovation for COVID-19 will increase the already existing racial inequalities

Lifesaving innovation for COVID-19 will increase the already existing racial inequalities

Syphilis bacterium likely uses a single gene to evade immune attack

Syphilis bacterium likely uses a single gene to evade immune attack

Lasers turn metal surfaces into bacteria killers

Lasers turn metal surfaces into bacteria killers

Review finds fear as major factor behind people’s reluctance to participate in clinical research

Review finds fear as major factor behind people’s reluctance to participate in clinical research