Government officials in the Federal District in Brazil say the syphilis situation has reached epidemic status and the exact reason for the rise is still unknown, according to a G1.Globo report (computer translated).
In 2016 alone, 1,288 cases were reported in the federal capital. The number is well more than double the 529 cases reported in 2011. For the five year period of 2009 to 2014, 3,260 cases of the disease were recorded.
According to the Secretariat of Health, despite the classification as an epidemic, there is still no study that indicates the cause of the increase in cases. The cities with the highest number of cases, in proportion to the number of inhabitants, are Taguatinga, Paranoá and Planaltina. The infection is seen mostly in men ages 20-29 years.
The Secretariat of Health said diagnostic tests are offered free of charge at health clinics and complete treatment is available.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium, Treponema pallidum. The most common way to get syphilis is by having sexual contact (oral, genital or anal) with an infected person. The secondary lesions are also infective and contact with them could transmit the bacteria. It can also be transmitted from an infected mother to her baby (congenital transmission).
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