Public Health Wales issued a warning to the public Thursday upon reporting a significant increase in the number of the sexually transmitted infection, syphilis in North Wales.


Since the middle of 2013 there have been thirty nine cases reported to health officials. Typically, about seven cases are seen each year in North Wales.

Most cases have been seen in men who have sex with men. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.

Dr Chris Whiteside, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales said: “People with syphilis may develop painless ulcers in their genital or mouth area. They may also develop a rash over their body, palms of the hands and soles of their feet.

“These symptoms may disappear without the person being aware of them, but they will remain infected and risk infecting other sexual partners.
“The symptoms of tertiary syphilis, which will occur many years after acquiring infection, can be dangerous enough to cause death. “
Dr Whiteside added:
“Syphilis can be cured with a course of antibiotics. The best way to prevent syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases is to use a condom.

“We urge anyone with symptoms or who may be at risk of infection to attend their local district general hospital based sexual health/ genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic to be tested.”

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) 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). It can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, though extremely rare because of testing of donors.