By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

In recent years, the number of syphilis cases has surged in Japan. In 2015, we reported on a big increase in syphilis cases in Japan where well over 2,000 cases were recorded, a four-fold increase from just five years earlier.

In the past two years, more than 5,500 cases were reported in 2017 and more than 6,000 last year.


Through November 13, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) reported 5,703 syphilis cases, including 1,464 cases in Tokyo and 921 cases in Osaka.

Another issue the NIID has been looking at is syphilis in pregnant women in Japan. According to a report in The Mainichi:

The NIID analyzed cases of syphilis reported from the first to the 26th week of 2019, a six-month period from January, and found that a reported 106 of 1,117 women with syphilis were pregnant. Of the 61 patients who gave their answers to a section on whether they had worked in the adult entertainment industry in the preceding six months, 56 said they had not done so.

“It is possible that most of the expectant mothers suffering from syphilis were infected by their male partners,” said Takuya Yamagishi, a doctor at the NIID.

Through mid-October, Japan has reported 17 congenital syphilis cases, the same as in all of 2018.

Congenital syphilis is an infectious disease transmitted by an infected mother to her baby in the womb. Adults transmit syphilis through sexual contact but mothers can transmit the infection to their baby in the womb or through the birthing process. The disease can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, death shortly after birth, prematurity and birth defects. A woman can be treated and cured for syphilis during pregnancy, but it is important for women to be tested in time for treatment to be effective. Babies who test positive for syphilis at birth must be treated immediately to prevent serious health issues.