"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!
Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University
The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering