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.
Hidden epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S.

Hidden epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S.

Baltimore Sun series examines link between commercial sex work, HIV transmission in Baltimore

Baltimore Sun series examines link between commercial sex work, HIV transmission in Baltimore

Dermatology's role in advancing the science of wound care

Dermatology's role in advancing the science of wound care

Deep-frozen HIV specimens

Deep-frozen HIV specimens

Ethnic minorities may be more willing than was previously thought to take part in clinical research

Ethnic minorities may be more willing than was previously thought to take part in clinical research

HIV infection is on the rise among young men who have sex with men in New York City

HIV infection is on the rise among young men who have sex with men in New York City

Sexually transmitted diseases flourishing in the UK

Sexually transmitted diseases flourishing in the UK

Syphilis cases spike in New York City

Syphilis cases spike in New York City

Ownership of genetic information

Ownership of genetic information

WHO-based tropical disease research programme to focus on emerging diseases

WHO-based tropical disease research programme to focus on emerging diseases

Rapid syphilis testing prevents congenital disease and stillbirths

Rapid syphilis testing prevents congenital disease and stillbirths

Demand for VScan diagnostic test kits increases

Demand for VScan diagnostic test kits increases

Growing rates of syphilis among gay and bisexual men

Growing rates of syphilis among gay and bisexual men

Medical Services International receives increased interest in Dengue fever and Malaria test kits

Medical Services International receives increased interest in Dengue fever and Malaria test kits

All U.S. States to begin names-based reporting of HIV cases by end of 2007

All U.S. States to begin names-based reporting of HIV cases by end of 2007

Increasing numbers of blood collection centers in parts of China contributing to spread of HIV

Increasing numbers of blood collection centers in parts of China contributing to spread of HIV

Syphilis epidemic in China

Syphilis epidemic in China

Brits "out on the pull" urged to carry condoms by government campaign

Brits "out on the pull" urged to carry condoms by government campaign

Men who pay for sex often have partners at home

Men who pay for sex often have partners at home

Literacy at less than a ninth-grade level almost doubles the five-year risk of mortality among elderly people

Literacy at less than a ninth-grade level almost doubles the five-year risk of mortality among elderly people