Syphilis outbreak evolving
The syphilis outbreak occurring in remote areas of Australia continues to evolve.
Data released by the Multijurisdictional Outbreak Group shows that since the outbreak was declared in January 2011 over 1850 cases of infectious syphilis have been reported among Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people in affected regions of Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia. These cases are predominantly among young people aged 15-29 years, and equally among women and men.
So far there have been 5 congenital deaths, including last month where we learnt of a congenital death in Far North Queensland.
“This data makes it clear that we need to ramp up efforts to increase syphilis testing for young people in the regions affected by the outbreak”, said A/Prof James Ward, from the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. “In these regions it’s crucial that all pregnant women and anyone who has had a recent partner change are made aware of the risk, and encouraged to test”, he said.
Read more about the syphilis epidemic and the multi-jurisdictional response here.