Rising Threat of ‘Syphilis’ Cases Haunt China

The Chinese Health Ministry has warned about the rise of syphilis cases across the country and issued a 10-year working plan with an aim to curb the spread of the disease.

The plan targets groups that are at high-risk including prostitutes, gay men and those engaged in extramarital sex.Syphilis is an infectious disease that can cause damage to the nerves and cardiovascular system. It can be transmitted by having sex, through blood, and also from mother to baby in the womb.

About 327,433 cases of syphilis were reported last year in China. Besides, in 2009 alone, 10,757 newborn children were infected with the disease,” the China Daily quotes a statistical report of China Information System for Disease Control and Prevention (CISDCP), as saying.

The report also says that peasants, migrant workers and retired people are exposed to higher risks of contracting syphilis.

“In 1949, the Government banned prostitution and provided free medical treatment for syphilis, which helped to reduce the cases by 1960 especially in the mainland. However, by 1980s, the disease widespread because the population shifted. By 1993 and 1999, cases of syphilis rose 85 percent,” the report added.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health urged AIDS authorities at all levels to advertise more about syphilis.

“More doctors would be trained at grassroots hospitals and provide free medical treatment to the patients,” the 10-year working plan said.

The plan aims to curb the spread of the disease over the next five years and reduce the number of early-stage syphilitics and eliminate syphilis babieswithin 10 years.


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