Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Resurgence and spread of syphilis in China is a rapidly increasing epidemic

The resurgence and spread in China of syphilis, an infection eliminated there from 1960 to 1980, represents a rapidly increasing pidemic calling for urgent intervention, ccording to authors of a new report documenting rising infection rates.

"Syphilis has returned to China with a vengeance. The data demonstrates a syphilis epidemic of such scope and magnitude that it will require terrific effort to intervene," said Dr. Myron S. Cohen, the J. Herbert Bate distinguished professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology, and public health, and director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Cohen and co-authors from China collected and assessed data from China's national sexually transmitted disease (STD) surveillance system and sentinel site network. The total incidence of syphilis in all of China's counties increased from less than 0.2 cases per 100,000 people in 1993 to 6.5 cases per 100,000 in 1999, the study shows. Of the three categories of disease - primary, secondary and tertiary - the first two represented 5.7 cases per 100,000 people in 2005. This latter incidence is substantially higher than in most developed countries, including the U.S., which reported 2.7 cases of primary and secondary syphilis in 2004, the researchers note.

The results appear in the Jan. 13, 2007 issue of the journal Lancet. The research was supported by special funding from the National Institutes of Health Fogarty-Ellison Fellowship and the UNC Center for AIDS Research.

Also alarming is the rate of congenital syphilis, Cohen said, which has increased from 0.01 cases per 100,000 live births in 1991 to 19.68 cases in 2005 - an average yearly rise of 71.9 percent. Congenital syphilis occurs when a pregnant woman with syphilis passes the infection to her baby in the womb. Many cases result in miscarriage or stillbirth, and surviving babies may have serious problems of the brain, liver, and other organs.

The study authors link the rise in syphilis infection rates to economic reforms and globalization in China. These changes have led to income gaps and a cultural climate that favors re-emergence of prostitution due to a substantial majority of men and a large migrant population of male workers, the report says. Changing social practices such as people experimenting with sex at earlier ages and before marriage, as well as increasing costs of individual health care, also contribute.

Syphilis was first recognized in ainland China in 1505. By the time the Communist party assumed power in 1949, "the Chinese were suffering one of the biggest syphilis epidemics in human history," the authors said. Mao Zedong and his government made syphilis treatment and prevention a priority and launched a prolonged campaign beginning in 1952 to eliminate STDs, Cohen said. By 1964, syphilis was rare and the infection virtually eliminated until China opened its international borders in the early 1980s.

The virtual absence of syphilis in China for 20 years means the general population of young, sexually active individuals has no natural immunity to the disease, according to the authors. "Sexually active individuals would be completely susceptible to this infection," the report states. Cohen also notes that syphilis also increase the risk of both transmitting and getting infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Cohen, who has worked in China since 1979, designed and planned the research along with co-author Dr. Xiang-Sheng Chen of the National Center for STD Control in Nanjing. Cohen said the development of longstanding collaborations with the center helped make the report possible.

"This report helps to demonstrate the openness with which China is trying to approach epidemics of infectious diseases. The data we now have provides important clues as to where the authorities in China should put their resources," Cohen said.

A "formal and aggressive" China Syphilis Working Group has formed through partnerships involving UNC, China's National Center for STD Control, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Center for Disease Control and the London School of Hygiene, Cohen said.

Stephanie Crayton | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

New 4-D printer could reshape the world we live in

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

21.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>