Continued Syphilis Outbreak Warrants National Attention

Syphilis remains an important public health concern due to global case increases. In Australia, the largest syphilis outbreak ever recorded has been ongoing for the last 10 years, and now the peak medical body is calling for a national response. Syphilis can be easily treated; the challenge lies in the diagnosis. If primary lesions are not correctly identified or acted upon, a diagnostic opportunity could be missed, delaying effective treatment while increasing the probability of transmission. Direct and definitive diagnostics from a symptomatic lesion at the time of presentation can be an important and informative tool in the fight against rising syphilis cases. Molecular detection of syphilis, VZV & herpes using PlexPCR® VHS has been shown to be an effective way to increase syphilis testing and diagnostic potential outside of specialist sexual health services, where it may not be considered as a differential diagnosis.

If syphilis is misdiagnosed or left undetected, it can cause long-term neurological health problems. Syphilis can also be transmitted from pregnant women to their developing baby causing congenital syphilis which leads to critical developmental problems that can be fatal in many instances.