Dublin, July 14: Ireland is experiencing an outbreak of Syphilis a highly infectious condition, which has has seen plenty of people left sweating about their status, according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.
Syphilis, a bacterial infection, which is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that 64% of syphilis occur in men who have sex with men.
According to health officials, Covid-19 has contributed to a potentially significant reservoir of undiagnosed sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
The medical research has been under investigation since June 2021 and prior to the start of the pandemic, EIS cases were rising.
The outbreak has left many people concerned, with an expected rise in the use of the HSE’s Home STI kits.
And while the majority of infections are in males – which has historically been the case in Ireland – the proportion of cases in females has nearly doubled to 9pc.
The highest rates were in the 30-34 and 25-29 year age groups at 39.2 and 38.3 per 100,000 of the population – over three times higher than the national age-specific notification rate.
Unlike other sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and genital herpes simplex, cases of syphilis tend be in older age groups.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre says early infectious syphilis (EIF) cases were rising here before the COVID-19 crisis. However, the trend is continuing in 2021, with 20pc of syphilis cases notified from January 1 this year to May 15 aged 25-29 years.”
The majority of cases reported are in Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow followed by Cork and Kerry and the Midwest.
What is Syphilis?
The bacterial infection is usually transmitted via sex, usually via contact with an infected person’s sore.
If it’s left untreated for years, syphilis can spread to the brain or other parts of the body and cause serious long-term problems.
What causes Syphilis?
Treponema pallidum is the bacteria that cause syphilis. The bacterium is transmitted through contact with an infected person’s sore during sexual activity. The bacteria enter the body through minor cuts in your skin or mucous membranes of the vagina, rectum, lips or mouth.
The disease is most likely to spread during anal, oral or vaginal sexual activity.
Symptoms of Syphilis
In the primary stage, one or more painless, firm and round syphilitic sores develop. In the secondary stage, the symptoms include rashes, muscle aches, fever, sore throat, patchy hair loss, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue.
Treatment Of Syphilis
Primary and secondary syphilis can be easily treated with a penicillin injection, penicillin is an effective antibiotic used for treating syphilis.
If you have tertiary syphilis, you will need multiple injections at weekly intervals. In the case of neurosyphilis, intravenous (IV) penicillin is required every 4 hours for 2 weeks to eliminate the bacteria from the nervous system.
People who are allergic to penicillin will be likely to be treated with other antibiotics like ceftriaxone, azithromycin, and doxycycline.
Story first published: Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 17:01 [IST]