Public Health Wales: Significant increase in infectious syphilis cases in North Wales
Since the middle of 2013 there have been thirty nine cases reported to Public Health Wales.
Usually around seven cases are seen each year in North Wales.
To date most cases have been in men who have sex with men.
The rise in cases was first seen in residents of Anglesey but there are now cases across North Wales.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can be passed on through sex including oral sex.
Dr Chris Whiteside, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales said:
“People with syphilis may develop painless ulcers in their genital or mouth area. They may also develop a rash over their body, palms of the hands and soles of their feet.
“These symptoms may disappear without the person being aware of them, but they will remain infected and risk infecting other sexual partners.
“The symptoms of tertiary syphilis, which will occur many years after acquiring infection, can be dangerous enough to cause death.
Dr Chris Whiteside:
“Syphilis can be cured with a course of antibiotics. We urge anyone with symptoms or who may be at risk of infection to attend their local district general hospital based sexual health/ genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic to be tested.”
“Syphilis can be cured with a course of antibiotics. The best way to prevent syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases is to use a condom.”
Public Health Wales and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board have already undertaken measures to try to prevent and control the growing number of cases including enhanced surveillance, communication with health professionals and targeted health promotion to the most at risk population across North Wales.
Dr Whiteside added,
“We urge anyone with symptoms or who may be at risk of infection to attend their local district general hospital based sexual health/ genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic to be tested.”
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